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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
___________________________________________________
FORM 10-K
___________________________________________________
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
COMMISSION FILE NO. 001-06622
___________________________________________________
ELME COMMUNITIES
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
___________________________________________________
Maryland53-0261100
(State of incorporation)(IRS Employer Identification Number)
7550 WISCONSIN AVE, SUITE 900, BETHESDA, MD 20814
(Address of principal executive office) (Zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (202774-3200
___________________________________________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Shares of Beneficial InterestELMENYSE
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
___________________________________________________
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes   No 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes   No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes   No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for



complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.   

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes   No 
As of June 30, 2023, the aggregate market value of such shares held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $1,429,202,578 (based on the closing price of the shares on June 30, 2023).
As of February 13, 2024, 87,867,059 common shares were outstanding.
___________________________________________________
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of our definitive Proxy Statement relating to the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, are incorporated by reference in Part III, Items 10-14 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K as indicated herein.



ELME COMMUNITIES
2023 FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT
INDEX
 
PART I
  
 Page
Item 1.Business
Item 1A.Risk Factors
Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 1C.Cybersecurity
Item 2.Properties
Item 3.Legal Proceedings
Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures
PART II
Item 5.Market for the Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6.Reserved
Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A.Qualitative and Quantitative Disclosures about Market Risk
Item 8.Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9.Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A.Controls and Procedures
Item 9B.Other Information
Item 9C.
Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
PART III
Item 10.Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11.Executive Compensation
Item 12.Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13.Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14.Principal Accountant Fees and Services
PART IV
Item 15.Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16.Form 10-K Summary
Signatures


3



PART I

ITEM 1:  BUSINESS

Elme Communities Overview

Elme Communities, a Maryland real estate investment trust, formerly known as Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (the "Company"), is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust ("REIT") and successor to a trust organized in 1960. Our business primarily consists of the ownership of apartment communities in the greater Washington, DC metro and Sunbelt regions. As of December 31, 2023, we owned 28 apartment communities and one office property.
Business and Investment Strategy

Our mission is to elevate the value living experience and create a place our residents are proud to call home by continuously focusing on service, efficiency, and innovation. We are focused on creating shareholder value by providing quality, affordably priced housing to a deep, solid, and growing base of mid-market demand. Our research indicates that affordability is a pressing rental issue at multiple price points across the mid-market rent spectrum. We believe that rents can be consistently grown if a portfolio’s price point does not compete directly with new product price points and wages for mid-market renters are growing. Furthermore, as the cost of homeownership continues to rise above affordable levels for median income earners, we expect to benefit from sustained demand for quality, affordably priced rental housing.

We acquire, develop, and renovate apartment communities that align with our research-led investment strategy, which is focused on the following:

targeting markets that have economies with diverse, innovative industries that drive outsized job creation, wage growth and in-migration, which we believe will benefit from these trends in the years to come;
targeting middle-income renters who make up the largest share of apartment demand in each of our current and target markets but for whom new apartment supply and the cost of owning a home is unaffordable;
executing value-add renovations that are tailored to each submarket, target renter group and individual community to provide an improved yet affordable living experience while enhancing shareholder value; and
targeting investment opportunities that provide the potential for significant appreciation in value and that have operating upside through community management strategies.

Our research-focused approach enables us to craft optimal strategies to provide the best combination of value, quality, and resident experience in our apartment communities. We categorize our apartment communities among broader asset classes, as determined by a variety of factors, including the age of our buildings, rent growth drivers and rent relative to the market:

Class A

Class A communities are recently developed and command rental rates above market median rents.
Class A- communities have been developed within the past twenty years and feature operational improvements and unit upgrades and command rents at or above median market rents.

Class B

Class B Value-Add communities feature operational improvements and strong potential for unit renovations. These communities, which are generally over twenty years old, command average rental rates below median market rents for units that have not been renovated.
Class B communities feature operational improvements and command average rental rates below median market rents. Near-term rent growth is driven by operational improvements and market rent growth without unit renovations. These communities are over twenty years old and can become Class B Value-Add depending on future market rents and renovation opportunities.


4


Regional Real Estate Markets (1)

While we have historically focused our investments in the greater Washington, DC metro region, we expanded our footprint to the Atlanta metro region in 2021. Atlanta offers a range of diverse, innovative industries which we believe are poised to benefit from substantial job creation, rising wages, and continued migration in the coming years. As of December 31, 2023, we have acquired six apartment communities in the Atlanta metro region and we remain optimistic about the near and longer-term demand drivers in the Atlanta metro region.

Looking forward, we plan to continue to expand our footprint outside of the Washington, DC metro region. We intend to target markets with skilled labor development and in-migration, diverse economies with innovative industries, strong productivity and wage growth for middle income residents, and demand for affordable mid-market housing.

We believe our portfolio's allocation in the Atlanta and Washington, DC metro regions, and our focus on value-oriented price points, will help enable our future growth, while also providing relative insulation during economic downturns. Over the past five and 10-year periods, Class B rent growth has outperformed Class A in both of our operating markets. Additionally, our mid-market price points generally do not compete with new supply, as our average monthly rent is generally several hundred dollars below the asking rent for new deliveries. Moreover, the national cost of owning a home compared to renting a single-family starter home is the highest it’s been in over 20 years. As housing remains undersupplied, interest rates remain high and the cost of homeownership remains unaffordable for many median-income households, we expect to benefit from sustained demand for quality, affordable rental options.

Washington, DC metro region (22 apartment communities)

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the Washington, DC metro region absorbed 1,600 units (the third highest 4th quarter performance on record for the Washington, DC metro region), as 4,000 units delivered concurrently. The rebound in demand in 2023 brought annual demand to 10,800 units, a top five performance nationwide. Despite healthy absorption, supply and demand remained imbalanced. As a result, occupancy ticked down 40 basis points over the year to 94.7%.

Effective asking rents declined 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of 2023, averaging $2,110 per month, or $2.39 per square foot, pushing annual rent growth down to 2.5%. Annual rent change, as of the fourth quarter of 2023, was highest among Class B multifamily properties at 3.7% with Class A multifamily properties trailing behind at 2.4%. Generally, rents grew most in low supply submarkets, whereas rent cuts were most common in higher supply areas. Occupancy remained strongest in Class B multifamily properties at 95.2%.

The Washington, DC metro economy is considered to be recession-resistant due to a high concentration of government and government-affiliated jobs. Annual job growth for the Washington, DC metro region, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was 1.4% or, 48,400 jobs as of November 2023, year-over-year. The RealPage Market Analytics apartment market outlook points to a heavy construction pipeline with 29,400 units currently under construction, of which 18,200 are planned for delivery over the next year. Given the projected pipeline, rent and occupancy performance are expected to vary across submarkets, with market-level readings that roughly match the national average in the coming two to three-year window.

Atlanta metro region (6 apartment communities)

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the Atlanta metro region absorbed 2,900 units (the fourth highest 4th quarter performance on record for the Atlanta metro region), as 5,400 units delivered concurrently. Quarterly occupancy in the market contracted 40 basis points year-over-year to about 92.3%. Annual demand rose to 9,700 units, a significant improvement from the annual net move-outs of 7,000 units recorded in the first quarter of 2023.

The Atlanta metro region recorded an annual rent cut of 4.7%, with effective asking rents averaging $1,628 per month, or $1.60 per square foot. Class C multifamily properties saw the steepest rent decline of 6.6% on average, followed by Class B multifamily properties with rent cuts of 4.3% on average, and Class A multifamily properties with rent cuts of 3.6% on average. All but one of Atlanta’s 39 submarkets posted rent cuts on an annual basis.

Annual job growth for the Atlanta metro region as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was 2.5%, or 76,500 jobs added as of November 2023, year-over-year. The RealPage Market Analytics apartment market outlook has 34,300 units currently under construction, of which 23,100 are planned for delivery over the next year. In the short term, rent change and occupancy are expected to remain muted and are expected to move closer to national norms in 2025, once the current supply wave moderates.
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(1)     The source of all regional market numerical data in this section is RealPage Market Analytics

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Our Portfolio

As of December 31, 2023, we owned approximately 9,400 residential apartment homes in the Washington, DC metro and Sunbelt regions. We also owned approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space in the Washington, DC metro region. The percentage of total real estate rental revenue from continuing operations by property type for the three years ended December 31, 2023, and the average occupancy for the year ended December 31, 2023, were as follows:
Average Occupancy, year ended December 31, 2023
 % of Total Real Estate Rental  Revenue
 202320222021
95%Residential92 %91 %89 %
90%Other%%11 %
100 %100 %100 %

Total real estate rental revenue from continuing operations for each of the three years ended December 31, 2023, was $227.9 million, $209.4 million and $169.2 million, respectively. During the three years ended December 31, 2023, we acquired six residential properties and placed one residential development project into service. During that same period, we sold twelve office properties and eight retail properties. See note 14 to the consolidated financial statements for further discussion of our operating results by segment.

No single tenant accounted for more than 5% of real estate rental revenue from continuing operations in any of the three years ended December 31, 2023.

In October 2022, we began a process to internalize our management operations, and this process was completed in July 2023. Prior to the completion of our management internalization, Bozzuto Management Company ("Bozzuto") and Greystar Real Estate Partners ("Greystar") provided community management and leasing services at the majority of our residential communities. Bozzuto and Greystar provided such services under individual community management agreements for each residential community, each of which was separately terminable by us or Bozzuto/Greystar, as applicable. Although they varied by community, on average, the fees charged by Bozzuto/Greystar under each agreement were approximately 3% of revenues at each residential community. As of December 31, 2023, we have transitioned all of our residential communities to Elme management. Stream Realty Partners ("Stream") provides property management and leasing services at our sole office property, Watergate 600.

We make capital improvements to our properties on an ongoing basis for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their value and income. Major improvements and/or renovations to the properties during the three years ended December 31, 2023 are discussed in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, under the heading “Capital Improvements and Development Costs.”

Further description of the properties is contained in Item 2, Properties, and note 14 to the consolidated financial statements, Segment Information, and in Schedule III. Reference is also made to Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Environmental, Social and Governance

At Elme Communities, our Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) strategy is to operate and grow in a sustainable, responsible manner that contributes to positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes for shareholders, employees, and the communities in which we serve. We intend to continue providing an annual ESG report that includes disclosures aligned with Global Reporting Initiative Standards 2016, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This report can be found online at https://www.elmecommunities.com/esg/. The reference to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained in the website and such information should not be considered part of this document.

Environmental

In 2021, we announced our commitment to net zero carbon operation in alignment with the Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Net Zero by 2050 Goal. In 2023, we joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Climate Challenge, further aligning greenhouse gas emission reduction with industry leaders. Meeting this goal requires that we fully integrate a focus on carbon reductions into our strategic approach and at all levels of our organization throughout our portfolio.

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We implement sustainable policies and practices at all of our properties, for purposes of ensuring occupants and residents work and live in efficient, healthy spaces. We track annual asset-level performance of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption, utilizing ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as well as Measurabl ESG software. We apply industry standard rating systems such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (“BREEAM”) to establish sustainable practices for building design, construction, operations, and maintenance. During unit renovations, we replace end-of-life appliances with ENERGY STAR rated equipment; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with more efficient models; as well as update water fixtures to low-flow options. Additionally, we continue to expand our electric vehicle charging stations across our portfolio to support the transition of our residents to electric transportation.

Social

Among our social initiatives is a commitment to financial inclusion, pursuant to which we aim to increase the availability and equality of financial service opportunities, remove barriers to the financial sector, and enable individuals to improve their financial wellbeing. Beyond credit history, life-altering events can interrupt a resident’s ability to pay rent, including job loss, medical emergencies, domestic violence, and other hardships. This can lead to delinquencies, increased interest rate debt, potential eviction, and situational unhousing.

In 2022, we announced a partnership with a financial technology company to dismantle barriers to housing for working families. Through this partnership, on-time rent payments are reported monthly to all three credit bureaus, providing an opportunity for residents to build their credit. This no-cost amenity is available to 100% of our community residents. This initiative follows a “do no harm” mindset. Therefore, only on-time payments—not delinquencies—are reported.

In addition to credit reporting, our technology partner's platform offers housing stability loans for residents experiencing financial hardship. These interest-free loans provide up to three months of rent relief, enabling residents to remain housed during difficult times. Residents can then work with our technology partner to set up a 12-month repayment plan for the loan.

These programs support the short- and long-term financial well-being of our residents.

In addition to financial wellness, we support our residents physical and mental health and wellness through on-site amenities such as gymnasiums, pools, playgrounds, and community rooms, as well as close access to bike lanes, walking/running paths, parks, and other outdoor amenities. In 2023, we certified our first five communities to Fitwel Health and Wellness. The certification is awarded to buildings that promote occupant health and well-being by incorporating a number of evidence-based design and operations strategies that support the physical, mental, and social health of occupants.

Governance

At Elme, we hold ourselves, our suppliers, and the Board of Trustees (the "Board") to high ethical standards as we seek to increase shareholder value and foster a collaborative, innovative corporate culture. Our team is required to read and certify their knowledge on our Code of Ethics, in addition to receiving ethics training throughout the year. Our Board is responsible for corporate policy and management oversight to enhance long-term shareholder value. In 2020, our Board formalized the oversight of ESG initiatives, recognizing that environmental and social matters—together with strong corporate governance—play a critical role in the execution of our ESG strategy.

Some of our ESG policies, including our Human Rights Policy, Vendor Code of Conduct, and Environmental Sustainability Policy, can be found on our website at elmecommunities.com/esg/governance/.

We are made up of growth-oriented, hardworking individuals dedicated to transforming creative ideas into decisive action. Our flat organizational structure facilitates frequent, meaningful interactions with Company executives, and our commitment to teamwork and entrepreneurial spirit enables employees at every level to conceptualize ideas and make them happen. We create an environment designed to encourage people to do what they do best, all while learning, growing, and contributing in meaningful ways to build a better company. We trust, encourage, and support one another, driving our pursuit of excellence.
    


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Human Capital

Employees, Training and Development

On February 13, 2024, we had 243 employees, including 175 persons engaged in community management functions who were hired in connection with the internalization of our community management functions, and 68 persons engaged in corporate, financial, asset management and other functions. Of the 175 persons engaged in community management functions, 44 are employed in the Atlanta metro region at six different communities, with the remainder in the Washington, DC metro region. All of our officers and substantially all of our corporate-level employees live and work in or near the greater Washington, DC metro region, and our community management employees live and work in or near their respective communities.

Our human capital resources objectives include identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our new and existing employees. At Elme Communities, we place great value on employee growth through goals, feedback and professional and leadership development offerings. Our human resources team provides ongoing training and development opportunities to all employees. We financially support employees pursuing industry-specific training and certification programs and we encourage employees to join professional organizations that offer technical, soft skill and leadership development workshops.

Additionally, our compensation programs are designed to attract, retain and reward our workforce, with the goal of motivating employees to perform to the best of their abilities and achieve our objectives, including increasing shareholder value.

Health, Safety and Well-being

We support our employees with a robust and competitive employee benefits program, including a flexible vacation policy, parental leave, 401(k) matching, tuition reimbursement, an Employee Assistance Program, and other programs.

Additionally, we have a wellness program that provides fun, engaging challenges to encourage employees to continuously improve their physical, mental, and financial well-being. In our corporate office, we offer two wellness rooms for employees to take a break to decompress.

Our technological capabilities allow our corporate-level employees the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time. This allows us to easily meet our residents’ needs as well as those of our employees.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Initiative ("DEIA") is a long-term commitment to promoting an environment where each individual feels comfortable being their most authentic selves. We believe diversity of backgrounds, experiences, cultures, ethnicities, and interests leads to new ways of thinking and drives engagement and organizational success. Our diverse Cultural Advisory Board ("CAB") is overseen by our senior leadership team and our Board. The CAB tracks and monitors our diversity metrics and facilitates learning and training opportunities, including a diversity speaker series, targeted recruitment and relationship development with diverse industry groups for internships and employment opportunities and partnering with community-based non-profits for volunteer activities.

Community Engagement

As a REIT, investing is at the core of what we do, but the most valuable investments we make are not in our buildings but in our people and our community. We are passionate about making a difference in the regions we call home.

We are committed to improving the lives of those in need, and our employees participate in a wide variety of philanthropic activities throughout the year. Whether volunteering at a food bank, running a toy drive, walking for a cause, or participating in our company-wide community service day, we are proud to foster a culture of giving back.

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Regulation

REIT Tax Status

We believe that we qualify as a REIT under Sections 856-860 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code"), and intend to continue to qualify as such. To maintain our status as a REIT, we are, among other things required to distribute 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined before the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains), to our shareholders on an annual basis. When selling a property, we generally have the option of (a) reinvesting the sales proceeds of property sold, in a way that allows us to defer recognition of some or all of the taxable gain realized on the sale, (b) distributing gains to the shareholders with no tax to us or (c) treating net long-term capital gains as having been distributed to our shareholders, paying the tax on the gain deemed distributed and allocating the tax paid as a credit to our shareholders.

Generally, and subject to our ongoing qualification as a REIT, no provisions for income taxes are necessary except for taxes on undistributed taxable income and taxes on the income generated by our taxable REIT subsidiary. Our taxable REIT subsidiary is subject to corporate U.S. federal, state and local income tax on its taxable income at regular statutory rates (see note 1 to the consolidated financial statements for further disclosure).

Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA")

The properties in our portfolio must comply with Title III of the ADA, to the extent that such properties are “public accommodations” as defined by the ADA. The ADA may require removal of structural barriers to access by persons with disabilities in certain public areas of our properties where such removal is readily achievable. We believe that our properties are in substantial compliance with the ADA and that we will not be required to make substantial capital expenditures to address the requirements of the ADA. However, noncompliance with the ADA could result in an imposition of fines or an award of damages to private litigants. The obligation to make readily accessible accommodations is an ongoing one, and we will continue to assess our properties and make alterations as appropriate in this respect.

Fair Housing Act ("FHA")

The FHA, its state law counterparts and the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and various state agencies, prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18) or handicap (disability) and, in some states, financial capability or other bases. A failure to comply with these laws in our operations could result in litigation, fines, penalties or other adverse claims, or could result in limitations or restrictions on our ability to operate, any of which could materially and adversely affect us. We believe that we operate our properties in substantial compliance with the FHA.

Environmental Matters

We are subject to numerous federal, state and local environmental, health, safety and zoning laws and regulations that govern our operations, including with respect to air emissions, wastewater, and the use, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances and petroleum products. The cost to comply with such laws and regulations may be significant, and such laws may become more stringent over time. If we fail to comply with such laws, including if we fail to obtain any required permits or licenses, we could face substantial fines or possible revocation of our authority to conduct some of our operations.

In addition, under various federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the environment, as a current or former owner or operator of real property, we may be liable for costs and damages resulting from the presence or discharge of hazardous or toxic substances, waste or petroleum products at, on, in, under, or migrating from such property, including costs to investigate and remediate such contamination and liability for natural resources damage. Such laws often impose liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of such contamination, and the liability may be joint and several. In addition, we also may be liable for the costs of remediating contamination at off-site waste disposal facilities to which we have arranged for the disposal or treatment of hazardous substances, without regard to whether we complied with environmental laws in doing so. These liabilities for remediation could be substantial and the cost of any required remediation, fines, or other costs could exceed the value of the property and/or our aggregate assets. In addition, the presence of contamination or the failure to remediate contamination at our properties may expose us to third-party liability for costs of remediation and/or bodily injury or property damage or materially adversely affect our ability to sell, lease or develop our properties or to borrow using the properties as collateral. In addition, environmental laws may create liens on contaminated sites in favor of the government for damages and costs it incurs to address such contamination. Moreover, if contamination is discovered on our properties, environmental laws may impose restrictions on the manner in which property may be used or
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businesses may be operated, and these restrictions may require substantial expenditures.

Availability of Reports

Copies of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to such reports are available, free of charge, on our website www.elmecommunities.com. All required reports are made available on the website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The reference to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained in the website and such information should not be considered part of this document.

The Securities and Exchange Commission maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy statements, information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with Securities and Exchange Commission.
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ITEM 1A: RISK FACTORS
Set forth below are the risks that we believe are material to our shareholders. We refer to the shares of beneficial interest in Elme Communities as our “common shares,” and the investors who own shares as our “shareholders.” This section includes or refers to certain forward-looking statements. You should refer to the explanation of the qualifications and limitations on such forward-looking statements beginning on page 42.

Risks Related to our Business and Operations

We may be unable to successfully expand our operations into new markets and submarkets, which could have a material adverse effect on us, the trading price of our shares and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

We intend to further expand our residential platform through acquisitions in Sunbelt markets. Our current targeted expansion markets include Atlanta, Georgia, Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Between 2021 and 2023, we acquired six apartment communities in the Atlanta metro region and plan to continue to invest in the Sunbelt region in 2024 and beyond. However, our historic operations have been concentrated in the Washington DC, metro region, where we have expertise in acquiring and operating assets. The risks applicable to our ability to acquire, integrate and operate apartment communities in the Washington DC, metro region are also applicable to our ability to acquire, integrate and operate apartment communities in new markets. In addition to these risks, we will not possess the same level of familiarity with the dynamics and market conditions of any new markets that we have entered or that we may enter as we do with the Washington, DC market, which could adversely affect our ability to expand and success in expanding into those markets. Furthermore, we may be unable to build a significant market presence or achieve a desired return on our investments in communities in new markets. The occurrence of any of the foregoing risks could have a material adverse effect on us, the trading price of our shares and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

Our performance and value are subject to risks associated with our apartment communities and with the real estate industry, which could adversely affect our cash flow and ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

Our financial performance and the value of our apartment communities are subject to the risk that they do not generate revenues sufficient to meet our operating expenses, debt service and capital expenditures, which could cause our cash flow and ability to make distributions to our shareholders to be adversely affected. Any of the following factors, among others, may adversely affect the cash flow generated by our apartment communities and ability to make distributions to our shareholders:

a decrease in demand for rental properties over home ownership resulting from, among other reasons, resident preferences, decreases in housing prices and mortgage interest rates, and government programs to promote home ownership or subsidize rental housing, slow or negative employment growth and household formation;
competition with other housing alternatives, including owner occupied single and residential apartment homes;
a return of the availability of low-interest mortgages or the availability of mortgages requiring little or no down payment for single family home buyers;
declines in the financial condition of our residents;
significant job losses in the regions in which we operate;
changes in interest rates and availability of financing;
economic and market conditions including: migration to areas outside of major metropolitan areas where our portfolio is concentrated, new construction and excess inventory of residential and owned housing/condominiums, increasing portions of owned housing/condominium stock being converted to rental use;
the effects of government regulation in the real estate industry;
our ability to integrate new technological innovations into our properties to attract residents;
our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel with knowledge of the market; and
political conditions, civil disturbances, earthquakes and other natural disasters, terrorist acts or acts of war and actual or anticipated geopolitical instability.

Substantially all of our investments are concentrated in the multifamily asset class, which make us more vulnerable to a downturn in that asset class and could adversely affect our results of operations.

As of December 31, 2023, substantially all of our investments are concentrated in the multifamily industry, and we are subject to risks inherent in investments in a single type of property. A downturn or slowdown in the demand for multifamily housing may have more pronounced effects on our results of operations or on the value of our assets than when we had investments in more than one asset class.
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Additionally, the multifamily industry is also highly competitive. We compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities, including individuals, corporations, bank and insurance company investment accounts, other REITs, real estate limited partnerships, and other entities engaged in real estate investment activities. Many of these entities have significant financial and other resources, including operating experience, allowing them to compete effectively with us. Competitors with substantially greater financial resources than us may be able to accept more risk than we can effectively manage. In addition, those competitors that are not REITs may be at an advantage to the extent they can use working capital to finance projects, while we (and our competitors that are REITs) may have to forgo and/or liquidate otherwise attractive investments as we must comply with REIT requirements. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amount available for distribution to shareholders. Thus, compliance with REIT requirements may hinder our ability to make, or, in certain cases, maintain ownership of, certain attractive investments.

Competition may also result in overbuilding of multifamily properties, causing an increase in the number of multifamily units available which could potentially decrease occupancy and multifamily rental rates at our properties. We may also be required to expend substantial sums to attract new residents. These factors may cause the resale value of properties to be diminished because the market value of a particular property will depend principally upon the net revenues generated by the property. Further, costs associated with real estate investment generally are not reduced when circumstances, such as a pandemic, cause a reduction in income from the investment.

Each of these factors could possibly limit our ability to retain our current residents, attract new ones or increase or maintain rents, which could lower the value of our properties and adversely affect our results of operations and our financial condition.

Macroeconomic trends, including inflation and rising interest rates, may adversely affect our cash flow, financial condition and results of operations.

Macroeconomic trends, including increases in inflation and rising interest rates, may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. In recent years, inflation in the United States has risen to levels not experienced in recent decades, including rising energy prices, prices for consumer goods, interest rates and wages. These increases and any interventions, fiscal or otherwise, by the U.S. government in reaction to such events could negatively impact our business by increasing our operating costs and borrowing costs as well as decreasing the cash available to our residents and tenants and prospective residents and tenants who wish to rent in our communities. Although we expect to be able to increase rent to combat the effects of inflation, the cost to operate and maintain communities could increase faster or at a rate greater than our ability to increase rents that residents and tenants would be willing to pay, which could adversely affect our results of operations. Additionally, a decline in the market value of real estate in the regions in which we operate may result in the carrying value of certain real estate assets exceeding their fair value, which has recently and in the future may require us to recognize an impairment to those assets. For example, we recognized an impairment in the third quarter of 2023 on our sole remaining office property, Watergate 600. Also, if prevailing interest rates or other factors, such as the reluctance of lenders to make commercial real estate loans or the loss of the benefits of hedging arrangements, results in higher interest rates on our indebtedness, the increased interest expenses would adversely affect our cash flow, financial condition, and results of operation.

We are currently dependent upon the economic and regulatory climate of the Washington, DC and Atlanta metro regions, which may impact financial condition and results of operations.

As of December 31, 2023, 75% of our residential apartment homes were located in the Washington, DC metro region and 25% of our residential apartment homes were located in the Atlanta, Georgia metro region. While we intend to continue expansion of our platform in the Sunbelt region, our current concentration in just two geographic metro regions may expose us to a greater amount of market-dependent risk than if we were more geographically diverse. Our performance could be adversely affected by the economic conditions in, and other factors relating to, these two geographic areas, including zoning and other regulatory conditions, competition for residents and supply and demand for apartment in these regions, as well as unemployment and job growth. Additionally, in the Washington, DC and Atlanta metro regions, general economic conditions and local real estate conditions are dependent upon various industries that are predominant in the area (such as, in Washington, D.C., government and professional/business services). A downturn in one or more of these industries may have a particularly strong effect on the economic climate of the region. We are also susceptible to adverse developments in the regulatory environment of any of the markets in which we operate, particularly Washington, D.C., such as increases in real estate and other taxes, the costs of complying with governmental regulations or increased regulations, including zoning and tax laws, and actual or threatened reductions in government spending and/or changes to the timing of government spending, as has occurred during federal government shutdowns. To the extent that these markets become less desirable to operate in, our results of operations could be more negatively impacted than if we were more geographically diversified. In the event of negative economic and/or regulatory changes in the regions in which we operate, we may experience a negative impact to our financial condition and results of operations.

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Short-term leases expose us to the effects of declining market rents sooner than long-term leases, which could adversely affect our cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.

Substantially all of our apartment leases are for a term of one year or less. Because these leases generally permit the residents to leave at the end of the lease term without penalty, our rental revenues are impacted by declines in market rents sooner than if our apartment leases were for longer terms. Additionally, if the terms of a renewal or reletting are less favorable than current terms, then our results of operations and financial condition could be negatively affected. For each of the three years ended December 31, 2023, the same-store residential resident retention rate for each year's respective same-store community portfolio, was 63%, 63%, and 60%, respectively.

Expenses may increase or remain constant even if our revenues decrease.

The expense of owning and operating a property is not necessarily reduced when circumstances such as market factors and competition cause a reduction in income from the property or an increase in operating costs. As a result, if revenues drop, we may not be able to reduce our expenses accordingly. Loan payments are an example of a cost that will not be reduced if our revenues decrease. If a property is mortgaged and we are unable to meet the mortgage payments, the lender could foreclose on the mortgage and take the property, resulting in a further reduction in revenues.

The risks related to our commercial operations could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Although we are primarily in the residential rental business, we also own ancillary commercial space, primarily within our apartment communities, and own one office building that we lease to third parties. Gross rental revenue provided by leased commercial space in our portfolio represented 8% of our real estate rental revenue from continuing operations in 2023. The long term nature of our commercial leases and characteristics of many of our tenants (generally small, local businesses) may subject us to certain risks, such as difficulties or delays in reletting this commercial space and in achieving desired rental rates, the cost of allowances and concessions to tenants, which may be less favorable than current terms, a failure rate of small, local business that may be higher than average and competition with other commercial spaces, which may affect our ability to lease space and the level of rents we can obtain. Additionally, if our commercial tenants experience financial distress or bankruptcy, they may fail to comply with their contractual obligations, seek concessions in order to continue operations or cease their operations. Each of these factors could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Real estate investments are illiquid, and we may not be able to sell our properties on a timely basis when we determine it is appropriate to do so, which could negatively impact our profitability.

Real estate investments can be difficult to sell and convert to cash quickly, especially if market conditions are not favorable. Such illiquidity could limit our ability to quickly change our portfolio of properties in response to changes in economic or other conditions. Moreover, the REIT tax laws require that we hold our properties for investment, rather than primarily for sale in the ordinary course of business, which may cause us to forego or defer property sales that otherwise would be in our best interest. Due to these factors, we may be unable to sell a property at an advantageous time or on the terms anticipated which could negatively impact our profitability.

Rent control or rent stabilization legislation and other regulatory restrictions may limit our ability to increase rents and pass through new or increased operating costs to our residents.

Jurisdictions in which we own property have adopted, or may in the future adopt, laws and regulations imposing restrictions on the timing or amount of rent increases or have imposed regulations relating to low- and moderate-income housing. Such laws and regulations limit our ability to charge market rents, increase rents or evict residents at our apartment communities and could make it more difficult for us to dispose of properties in certain circumstances. Similarly, compliance procedures associated with rent control statutes and low- and moderate-income housing regulations could have a negative impact on our operating costs, and any failure to comply with low- and moderate-income housing regulations could result in the loss of certain tax benefits and the forfeiture of rent payments. In addition, such low- and moderate-income housing regulations often require us to rent a certain number of homes at below-market rents, which has a negative impact on our ability to increase cash flows from our residential properties subject to such regulations. Furthermore, such regulations may negatively impact our ability to attract higher-paying residents to such properties. As of December 31, 2023, four of our residential properties, each located within the Washington, DC metro region, were subject to such regulations.

Our business and reputation depend on our ability to continue to provide high quality housing and consistent operation of our communities, the failure of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business and reputation depend on providing our residents with quality housing including a wide variety of amenities such
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as covered parking, swimming pools, fitness facilities and similar features, highly reliable services, including water and electric power and the consistent operation of our communities. The delayed delivery or any material reduction or prolonged interruption of these services may cause residents to terminate their leases or may result in a reduction of rents and/or increase in our costs or other issues. In addition, we may fail to provide quality housing and continuous access to amenities, including as a result of government mandated closures due to health concerns, mechanical failure, power outage, human error, vandalism, physical or electronic security breaches, war, terrorism and similar events. Such service interruptions, closures, mechanical failures or other events may also expose us to additional liability claims and damage our reputation and brand and could cause current residents to terminate or not renew their leases, and prospective residents to seek housing elsewhere. Any such failures could impair our ability to continue providing quality housing and consistent operation of our communities, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We face risks associated with property development/redevelopment, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or ability to satisfy our debt service obligations.

We may, from time to time, engage in development and redevelopment activities, some of which may be significant. Developing or redeveloping properties presents a number of risks for us, including risks relating to necessary permitting, risks relating to development and construction costs and/or permanent financing, environmental remediation, timeline disruptions and demand for the completed property.

Properties developed or acquired for development may generate little or no cash flow from the date of acquisition through the date of completion of development and commencement of leasing activity. In addition, new development activities, regardless of whether or not they are ultimately successful, may require a substantial portion of management’s time and attention.

These risks could result in substantial unanticipated delays or expenses and, under certain circumstances, could prevent completion of development activities once undertaken. Some of these development/redevelopment risks may be heightened given uncertain and potentially volatile market conditions. If market volatility causes economic conditions to remain unpredictable or to trend downwards, we may not achieve our expected returns on properties we develop and we could lose some or all of our investments in those properties. In addition, the lead time required to develop, construct, and lease-up a development property may increase, which could adversely impact our projected returns or result in a termination of the development project. The materialization of any of the foregoing risks could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or ability to satisfy our debt service obligations.

Corporate social responsibility, specifically related to ESG matters, may constrain our business operations, impose additional costs and expose us to new risks that could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition and the price of our securities.

Environmental, social and governance matters have become increasingly important to investors and other stakeholders. Certain organizations that provide corporate risk and corporate governance advisory services to investors have developed scores and ratings to evaluate companies based upon ESG metrics. Many investors focus on ESG-related business practices and scores when choosing where to allocate their investments and may consider a company’s score as a factor in making an investment decision. The focus and activism related to ESG and related matters may constrain our business operations or increase expenses. Additionally, if our corporate responsibility procedures or standards do not meet the standards set by various constituencies, we may face reputational damage. There can be no assurance of how we will score on the ESG metrics used by such advisory organizations in the future, particularly since the criteria by which companies are rated for their ESG efforts may change. A low ESG score could result in a negative perception of the Company, exclusion of our securities from consideration by certain investors and/or cause investors to reallocate their capital away from the Company, each of which could have an adverse impact on the price of our securities.

As we continue to invest and focus on ESG efforts and initiatives that we believe are appropriate for the Company and our shareholders, we could also be criticized by ESG detractors for the scope or nature of our ESG initiatives or goals. We could also be subjected to negative responses by governmental actors (such as anti-ESG legislation or retaliatory legislative treatment), tenants and residents, that could adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

We face risks associated with property acquisitions.

We may acquire properties and expand into new markets which would increase our size and geographic diversity and could alter our capital structure. In addition, our acquisition activities and results may be exposed to the following risks:

we may have difficulty finding properties that are consistent with our strategies and meet our standards;
we may be unable to finance acquisitions on favorable terms or at all;
the occupancy levels, lease-up timing and rental rates of acquired properties may not meet our expectations;
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even if we enter into an acquisition agreement for a property, we may be unable to complete that acquisition after making a non-refundable deposit and incurring certain other acquisition-related costs;
we may be unable to acquire a desired property at all or at the desired purchase price because of competition from other real estate investors, including publicly traded real estate investment trusts, institutional investment funds and private investors;
the timing of property acquisitions may lag the timing of property dispositions, leading to periods of time where projects’ proceeds are not invested as profitably as we desire;
we may fail to secure required zoning, occupancy or other governmental permits and authorizations or applicable zoning and land use laws may change;
we may be unable to quickly and efficiently integrate new acquisitions, particularly acquisitions of portfolios of properties, into our existing operations;
new acquisitions and developments may fail to perform as expected or we may underestimate costs necessary to bring an acquired property up to our standards;
we may assume liabilities for undisclosed environmental contamination;
our estimates of capital expenditures required for an acquired property, including the costs of repositioning or redeveloping, may be inaccurate and the acquired properties may fail to perform as we expected in analyzing our investments; and
we could experience a decline in value of the acquired assets after acquisition.

In addition, our financing of an acquisition could negatively impact our cash flows and liquidity, require us to incur substantial debt or involve the issuance of new equity, which would be dilutive to existing stockholders. We may also acquire properties subject to liabilities and without recourse, or with limited recourse with respect to unknown liabilities. As a result, if liability were asserted against us based upon the acquisition of a property, we may have to pay substantial sums to settle it, which could adversely affect our cash flow.

We may suffer economic harm as a result of the actions of our partners in real estate joint ventures and other investments which may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

We may from time to time invest in joint ventures in which we are not the exclusive investor or the only decision maker. Investments in such entities may involve risks not present when a third party is not involved, including the possibility that the other parties to these investments may have business interest or goals that are inconsistent with our own, including for example, whether to sell or retain joint venture properties or interests, become bankrupt or fail to fund their share of required capital contributions. In some instances, joint venture partners may have competing interests that could create conflicts of interest, including compliance with the REIT requirements, and our REIT status could be jeopardized if any of our future joint ventures do not operate in compliance with the REIT requirements. To the extent our joint venture partners do not meet their obligations to us or they act inconsistent with our interests in the joint venture, we may be adversely affected.

Climate change and regulation regarding climate change in the regions in which we operate may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, per share market price of our common shares and our ability to satisfy our principal and interest obligations and to make distributions to our shareholders.

Climate change (including rising sea levels, flooding, prolonged periods of extreme temperature or other extreme weather, and changes in precipitation and temperature), may result in physical damage to, a decrease in demand for and/or a decrease in rent from and value of our properties located in the areas affected by these conditions (particularly in areas closer to coasts). Additionally, our insurance premiums may increase as a result of the threat of climate change or the effects of climate change may not be covered by our insurance policies.

Changes in U.S. federal and state legislation and regulations on climate change could result in utility expenses and/or capital expenditures to improve the energy efficiency of our existing properties or other related aspects of our properties in order to comply with such regulations or otherwise adapt to climate change. The U.S. government and various state agencies have introduced or are contemplating regulatory changes in response to the potential impact of climate change, including legislation regarding green-house gas emissions and renewable energy targets. Any such regulation regarding climate change may require unplanned capital improvements and increased engagement by our employees. Any adopted future climate change regulations could negatively impact our ability to compete with companies not subject to such regulations. From a medium and long-term perspective, as a result of these regulatory initiatives, we may see an increase in costs relating to any owned or future properties and failure to meet certain performance standards could result in fines for non-compliance, a decrease in demand and a decline in the value of our properties. As a result of these and other regulations, our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, per share market price of our common shares and our ability to satisfy our principal and interest obligations and to make distributions to our shareholders could be adversely affected.

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Actual or threatened acts of violence, including terrorist attacks, may adversely affect our ability to generate revenues and the value of our properties.

Actual or threatened acts of violence, including terrorist attacks and increased crime rates, resulting in more safety and security incidents, could occur in the localities in which we conduct business. As a result, some residents in our markets may choose to relocate to other markets. This could result in an overall decrease in the demand for such markets generally, which could increase vacancies or impact rental rates in our properties. In addition, future acts of violence or terrorist attacks could directly or indirectly damage our properties, both physically and financially, or cause losses that materially exceed our insurance coverage. As a result of the foregoing, our ability to generate revenues and the value of our properties could decline materially which would negatively affect our results of operations.

Some potential losses are not covered by insurance, which could adversely affect our financial condition or cash flow.

The property insurance that we maintain for our properties has historically been on an “all risk” basis, which is in full force and effect until renewal in August 2024. There are other types of losses, such as from wars or catastrophic events, for which we cannot obtain insurance at all or at a reasonable cost.

Our insurance does not cover terrorist related activities except certain non-certified nuclear, chemical and biological acts of terrorism. Our financial condition and results of operations are subject to the risks associated with acts of terrorism and the potential for uninsured losses as the result of any such acts.

Property ownership also involves potential liability to third parties for such matters as personal injuries occurring on the property. Such losses may not be fully insured. Furthermore, losses related to other types of risk, such as cybersecurity incidents or climate change may not be fully insured. In addition to uninsured losses, various government authorities may condemn all or parts of operating properties. Such condemnations could adversely affect the viability of such projects. Any such uninsured loss could adversely affect our financial condition or cash flow.

In the event of an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of our insurance limits, we could lose both the revenues generated from the affected property and the capital we have invested in the affected property. Depending on the specific circumstances of the affected property, it is possible that we could be liable for any mortgage indebtedness or other obligations related to the property. Any such loss could adversely affect our business and financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, any material increase in insurance rates or decrease in available coverage in the future could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Compliance with certain federal, state and local laws and regulations could adversely affect our results of operation, and may cause us to incur substantial costs or subject us to potential liabilities.

We are subject to certain compliance costs and potential liabilities under various U.S. federal, state and local environmental, employment, health, safety and zoning laws and regulations that govern our and our tenants’ operations. If we fail to comply with such laws, including if we fail to obtain any required permits or licenses, we could face substantial fines or possible revocation of our authority to conduct some of our operations.

Some of our current or former properties have had tenants that used hazardous substances or petroleum in the course of their businesses. Various environmental laws impose liability on a current or former owner or operator of real property for investigation or cleanup of hazardous substances or petroleum products at, on, under or migrating from our currently or formerly owned or leased real property, regardless of whether or not we knew of, or caused, the presence or release of such substances or products. Liability under these laws may be joint and several, meaning that we could be required to bear 100% of the liability even if other parties are also liable. From time to time, we may be required to investigate and clean-up hazardous substances or petroleum products or remove, abate or manage asbestos, mold, radon gas, lead or other hazardous conditions at our properties, and the costs of those effort may be substantial and could exceed the value of the property and/or our aggregate assets. The presence or release of such hazardous substances or petroleum products at our currently owned or leased properties could result in limitations on or interruptions to our operations, or may adversely affect our ability to sell or rent such properties or borrow using such properties as collateral. Releases of hazardous substances or petroleum products at our currently or formerly owned or leased properties could result in third-party claims for bodily injury, property or natural resource damages, or other losses, including liens in favor of the government for costs the government incurs in cleaning up contamination. In addition, we may be liable for the costs of investigating or remediating contamination at off-site waste disposal facilities to which we have arranged for the disposal, or treatment of hazardous substances without regard to whether we complied with environmental laws in doing so. It is our policy to retain independent environmental consultants to conduct Phase I environmental site assessments and asbestos surveys prior to our acquisition of properties. However, there is a risk that these
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assessments will not identify all potential environmental issues at a given property. Moreover, environmental, health and safety requirements have become increasingly stringent, and our costs may increase as a result. New or revised laws and regulations or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations, such as those related to climate change, could affect the operation of our properties or result in significant additional expense and operating restrictions on our properties or adversely affect our ability to sell properties or to use properties as collateral.

We may also incur significant costs complying with other regulations. In addition, failure of our properties to comply with the ADA could result in injunctive relief, fines, an award of damages to private litigants or mandated capital expenditures to remedy such noncompliance. Any imposition of injunctive relief, fines, damage awards or capital expenditures could adversely impact our business or results of operations. Our properties are subject to various other federal, state and local regulatory requirements, such as state and local fair housing, rent control and fire and life safety requirements. If we fail to comply with the requirements of the ADA or other federal, state and local regulations, we could be subject to fines, penalties, injunctive action, reputational harm and other business effects which could materially and negatively affect our performance and results of operations.

In addition, existing laws could be interpreted in a manner that restricts our ability to use systems that we currently use in our operations and we may face litigation or regulatory risk in connection with such laws. Future compliance with new laws of general applicability, laws applicable to companies in our industry, or laws applicable to public companies generally could increase our costs and could have an adverse effect on our financial performance. For example, one of our vendors, RealPage, is currently involved in lawsuits alleging that RealPage and others conspired to artificially inflate the prices of multifamily residential real estate above competitive levels.

We face cybersecurity risks which have the potential to disrupt our operations, cause material harm to our financial condition, result in misappropriation of assets, compromise confidential information and/or damage our business relationships and we can provide no assurance that the steps we and our service providers take in response to these risks will be effective.

We are dependent on our information technology networks and systems to access, as well as those of third parties, to process, transmit and store proprietary and confidential information, including personal information of residents, employees, and vendors. We face cybersecurity threats, including system, network or internet failures, cyber-attacks, ransomware and other malware, social engineering, phishing schemes and workforce member error, negligence, or fraud. The risk of a cyber-attack, including by computer hackers, nation-state affiliated actors and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks around the world have increased. Any such cybersecurity incident, including those impacting personal information, may result in disruption of our operations, material harm to our financial condition, cash flows and the market price of our common shares, misappropriation of assets, compromise or corruption of confidential information collected in the course of conducting our business, liability for impacted information or assets, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, regulatory scrutiny or enforcement, litigation and damage to our stakeholder relationships. A cybersecurity incident could also interfere with our ability to comply with financial reporting requirements. Additionally, future or past business transactions (such as acquisitions or integrations) could expose us to additional cybersecurity risks and threats, as our systems could be negatively affected by vulnerabilities present in acquired or integrated entities’ systems and technologies. Furthermore, we may discover security issues that were not found during due diligence of such acquired or integrated entities, and it may be difficult to integrate companies into our information technology environment and security program. In addition, increased regulation of data collection, use and retention practices, including self-regulation and industry standards, changes in existing laws and regulations, enactment of new laws and regulations, increased enforcement activity, and changes in interpretation of laws, could increase our cost of compliance and operation, limit our ability to grow our business or otherwise harm the Company.

We also rely on third-party service providers in our conduct of our business, and we can provide no assurance that the security measures of those providers will be effective. While we may be entitled to damages if our third-party service providers fail to satisfy their security-related obligations to us, any award may be insufficient to cover our damages, or we may be unable to recover such award.

Although we and our third-party service providers make efforts to maintain the security and integrity of our information, including the implementation of security measures, required employee awareness training and the existence of a disaster recovery plan, we can provide no assurance that our data security measures will be able to detect or prevent all cybersecurity incidents. These risks require increasing resources from us to analyze and mitigate, and there is no assurance that our efforts will be effective. Additionally, as a result of the internalization of community management services for our properties, which was completed in 2023, we collect and retain greater amounts of personal information, both from employees and current and potential residents, which increases the risks and potential effects of such a cybersecurity incident.

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We have identified and expect to continue to identify cyberattacks and cybersecurity incidents on our systems and those of third parties, but none of the cyberattacks and incidents we have identified to date has had a material impact on our business or operations.

While we have purchased cybersecurity insurance, there are no assurances that the coverage would be adequate in relation to any incurred losses. Moreover, as cyber-attacks increase in frequency and magnitude, we may be unable to obtain cybersecurity insurance in amounts and on terms we view as adequate for our operations.

A pandemic and measures intended to prevent its spread, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

A pandemic and emergence of new variants could (as the outbreak of COVID-19 did) negatively impact the global economy, disrupt financial markets and international trade, and result in varying unemployment levels, all of which could negatively impact the multifamily industry and our business. Pandemic outbreaks could lead (and the outbreak of COVID-19 led) governments and other authorities around the world, including federal, state and local authorities in the United States, to impose measures intended to mitigate its spread, including restrictions on freedom of movement and business operations such as orders not allowing the collection of rents, rent increases, or eviction of non-paying residents and tenants.

The impact of an ongoing pandemic and measures to prevent its spread could (and the outbreak of COVID-19 did) negatively impact our businesses in a number of ways, including shifts in consumer housing demand, our residents’ ability or willingness to pay rents and the demand for multifamily communities within the markets we operate. Unanticipated costs and operating expenses and decreased anticipated and actual revenue related to compliance with regulations could negatively impact our future compliance with financial covenants of debt agreements and our ability to satisfy certain REIT-related requirements.

Risks Related to Financing

Rising interest rates would increase our interest costs and negatively impact our cash flow.

We have and may continue to incur indebtedness that bears interest at variable rates. As a result, an increase in interest rates will increase our interest expense, which could adversely affect our cash flow and our ability to service debt. As a protection against rising interest rates, we may enter into agreements such as interest rate swaps, caps, floors and other interest rate exchange contracts. These agreements, however, increase our risks including other parties to the agreements not performing or that the agreements may be unenforceable.

We face risks associated with the use of debt, including refinancing risk.

We rely on borrowings under our credit facility, term loan, mortgage notes, and debt securities to finance acquisitions and development activities and for general corporate purposes. In the past, the commercial real estate debt markets have experienced significant volatility due to a number of factors, including the tightening of underwriting standards by lenders and credit rating agencies and the diminished market sentiment and prices with respect to certain asset classes. This volatility resulted in investors decreasing the availability of debt financing as well as increasing the cost of debt financing. These conditions, which increase the cost and reduce availability of debt, may continue to worsen in the future. Circumstances could again arise in which we may not be able to obtain debt financing in the future on favorable terms, or at all. If we are unable to borrow under our credit facility, obtain new debt financing or to refinance existing debt, our financial condition and results of operations would likely be adversely affected. Similarly, global equity markets have experienced significant price volatility and liquidity disruptions in recent years, and similar circumstances could significantly and negatively impact liquidity in the financial market in the future. Any disruption could negatively impact our ability to access additional financing at reasonable terms or at all.

We anticipate that only a small portion of the principal of our currently outstanding debt, if any, will be repaid prior to maturity. Therefore, we are likely to need to refinance a significant portion of our outstanding debt as it matures. There is a risk that we may not be able to refinance existing debt or that the terms of any refinancing will not be as favorable as the terms of the existing debt. If principal payments due at maturity cannot be refinanced, extended or repaid with proceeds from other sources, such as new equity capital, our cash flow may not be sufficient to repay all maturing debt in years when significant “balloon” payments come due. In addition, we may rely on debt to fund a portion of our new investments such as our acquisition and development activity. There is a risk that we may be unable to finance these activities on favorable terms or at all. The materialization of any of the foregoing risks would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Our degree of leverage could limit our ability to obtain additional financing, affect the market price of our common shares or debt securities or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition.
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On February 13, 2024, our total consolidated debt was approximately $0.7 billion. Using the closing share price of $14.13 per share of our common shares on February 13, 2024, multiplied by the number of our common shares, our consolidated debt to total consolidated market capitalization ratio was approximately 36% as of February 13, 2024.

Our degree of leverage could affect our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, development or other general corporate purposes. Our senior unsecured debt is currently rated investment grade by two major rating agencies. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain this rating, and in the event our senior debt is downgraded from its current rating, we would likely incur higher borrowing costs and/or difficulty in obtaining additional financing. Our degree of leverage could also make us more vulnerable to a downturn in business or the economy generally. There is a risk that changes in our debt to market capitalization ratio, which is in part a function of our share price, or our ratio of indebtedness to other measures of asset value used by financial analysts, may have an adverse effect on the market price of our equity or debt securities.

Additionally, payments of principal and interest on borrowings may leave us with insufficient cash resources to operate our properties, fully implement our capital expenditure, acquisition and redevelopment activities, or meet the REIT distribution requirements imposed by the Code.

Failure to effectively hedge against interest rate changes may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow, per share market price of our common shares and ability to make distributions to our shareholders and agreements we enter into to protect us from rising interest rates expose us to counterparty risk.

We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, hedging transactions to protect ourselves from the effects of interest rate fluctuations on variable rate debt. Our hedging transactions have included, and may in the future include, entering into agreements such as interest rate swaps, caps, floors and other interest rate exchange contracts. These agreements involve risks, such as the risk that such arrangements would not be effective in reducing our exposure to interest rate changes or that a court could rule that such an agreement is not legally enforceable. In addition, interest rate hedging can be expensive, particularly during periods of rising and volatile interest rates. Failure to hedge effectively against interest rate changes could materially adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow, per share trading price of our common shares and ability to make distributions to our shareholders. While such agreements are intended to lessen the impact of rising interest rates on us, they could also expose us to the risk that the other parties to the agreements would not perform, and that the hedging arrangements may not be effective in reducing our exposure to interest rate changes. In addition, the REIT provisions of the Code may limit use of certain hedging techniques that might otherwise be advantageous or push us to implement those hedges through a taxable REIT subsidiary, which would increase the cost of our hedging activities. Moreover, there can be no assurance that our hedging arrangements will qualify as highly effective cash flow hedges under Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, or that our hedging activities will have the desired beneficial impact on our results of operations. Should we desire to terminate a hedging agreement, there could be significant costs and cash requirements involved to fulfill our obligation under the hedging agreement.

Loans under our credit facility and term loan agreement may bear interest based on SOFR, but experience with SOFR based loans is limited.

Our credit facility and term loan agreement requires the applicable interest rate or payment amount by reference to SOFR (“Secured Overnight Financing Rate”). The use of SOFR based rates may result in interest rates and/or payments that are higher or lower than the rates and payments that we previously experienced under USD-LIBOR. In addition, the use of SOFR based rates is relatively new, and there could be unanticipated difficulties or disruptions with the calculation and publication of SOFR based rates that could hinder our ability to establish effective hedges and result in a different economic value over time for these instruments than they otherwise would have had under USD-LIBOR. In particular, if the agent under our credit facility or under our term loan agreement determines that SOFR based rates cannot be determined or the applicable agent or lenders determine that SOFR based rates do not adequately reflect the cost of funding, outstanding SOFR based loans may be converted into base rate loans, which could result in increased borrowing costs.

Covenants in our debt agreements could adversely affect our financial condition.

Our credit facility and other debt instruments contain customary restrictions, requirements and other limitations on our ability to incur indebtedness. We must maintain certain ratios, including a maximum of total indebtedness to total asset value, a maximum of secured indebtedness to total asset value, a minimum of quarterly adjusted EBITDA to fixed charges and a maximum of unsecured indebtedness to unencumbered pool value. Our ability to borrow under our credit facility is subject to compliance with our financial and other covenants.

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Failure to comply with any of the covenants under our unsecured credit facility or other debt instruments (including our indenture, term loan agreement and our notes purchase agreement) could result in a default under one or more of our debt instruments. If we fail to comply with the covenants in our unsecured credit facility or other debt instruments, other sources of capital may not be available to us or be available only on unattractive terms. In addition, if we breach covenants in our debt agreements, the lenders can declare a default and, if the debt is secured, take possession of the property securing the defaulted loan.

Any default or cross-default events could cause our lenders to accelerate the timing of payments and/or prohibit future borrowings, either of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, financial condition and liquidity.

Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure

Our declaration of trust and Maryland law contain provisions that may delay, defer or prevent a change in control of Elme Communities, even if such a change in control may be in the best interest of our shareholders, and as a result may depress the market price of our common shares.

Provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law (“MGCL”) may limit a change in control which could prevent holders of our common shares from profiting as a result of such change in control. These provisions include:

a provision where a corporation is not permitted to engage in any business combination with any “interested stockholder,” defined as any holder or affiliate of any holder of 10% or more of the corporation’s stock, for a period of five years after that holder becomes an “interested stockholder,” and
a provision where the voting rights of “control shares” acquired in a “control share acquisition,” as defined in the MGCL, may be restricted, such that the “control shares” have no voting rights, except to the extent approved by a vote of holders of two-thirds of the common shares entitled to vote on the matter.

Our bylaws currently provide that the foregoing provision regarding “control share acquisitions” will not apply to any acquisition by any person of shares of beneficial interest of Elme Communities. There can be no assurance that this provision will not be amended or eliminated at any time in the future by our Board and may be amended or eliminated with retroactive effect.

Additionally, Title 8, Subtitle 3 of the MGCL permits our Board, without shareholder approval and regardless of what is currently provided in our declaration of trust or bylaws, to implement certain takeover defenses. These provisions may have the effect of inhibiting a third party from making an acquisition proposal for us or of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of us under the circumstances that otherwise could provide our common shareholders with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then current market price.

The share ownership limits imposed by the Code for REITs and imposed by our declaration of trust may restrict our business combination opportunities that might involve a premium price for our common shares or otherwise be in the best interest of our shareholders.

The ownership of our shares must be restricted in several ways in order for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Code. Our declaration of trust provides that no person (other than an excepted holder, as defined in our declaration of trust) may actually or constructively own more than 9.8% of the aggregate of our outstanding common shares by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, or 9.8% of the aggregate of the equity shares by value.

Our Board has the authority under our declaration of trust to reduce these share ownership limits. Our Board may, in its sole discretion, grant exemptions to the share ownership limits, subject to such conditions and the receipt by our Board of certain representations and undertakings to ensure that our REIT qualification is not adversely affected. In addition to 9.8% (or any lower future percentage) share ownership limits, our declaration of trust also prohibits any person from (a) beneficially or constructively owning, as determined by applying certain attribution rules of the Code, our equity shares that would result in us being “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code (regardless of whether the interest is held during the last half of a taxable year) or that would otherwise cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT, or (b) transferring equity shares if such transfer would result in our equity shares being owned by fewer than 100 persons.

The share ownership limits contained in our declaration of trust are based on the ownership at any time by any “person,” which term includes entities and certain groups. The share ownership limitations in our declaration of trust are common in REIT charters and are intended to provide added assurance of compliance with the tax law requirements. However, the share ownership limits on our shares and our enforcement of them might delay, defer, prevent, or otherwise inhibit a transaction or a
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change in control of Elme Communities, including a transaction that might involve a premium price for our common shares or that might otherwise be in the best interest of our shareholders.

Our rights and the rights of our shareholders to take action against our trustees and officers are limited, which could limit your recourse in the event of actions that you do not believe are in your best interests.

Maryland law provides that a trustee has no liability in that capacity if he or she satisfies his or her duties to us and our shareholders. Under current Maryland law, our trustees and officers will not have any liability to us or our shareholders for money damages, except for liability resulting from:

actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services; or
a final judgment based upon a finding of active and deliberate dishonesty by the trustee or officer that was material to the cause of action adjudicated.

In addition, our declaration of trust authorizes and our bylaws require us to indemnify our trustees for actions taken by them in those capacities to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law. Our bylaws also require us to indemnify our officers for actions taken by them in those capacities to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law. As a result, we and our shareholders may have more limited rights against our trustees and officers than might otherwise exist. Accordingly, in the event that actions taken in good faith by any of our trustees or officers impede the performance of Elme Communities, your ability to recover damages from such trustees or officers will be limited with respect to trustees and may be limited with respect to officers. In addition, we have agreed to obligations to advance the defense costs incurred by our trustees and our executive officers, and may, in the discretion of our Board, advance the defense costs incurred by our officers, our employees and other agents, in connection with legal proceedings.

Risks Related to Our Common Shares

We cannot assure you we will continue to pay dividends at current rates and the failure to do so could have an adverse effect on the market price of our common shares.

Cash flows from operations are an important factor in our ability to sustain our dividend at its current rate. If our cash flows from operations were to decline significantly, we may have to borrow on our lines of credit to sustain the dividend rate or reduce our dividend. Our ability to continue to pay dividends on our common shares at their current rate or to increase our common share dividend rate will depend on a number of factors, including, among others, our future financial condition and results of operations and the terms of our debt covenants.

Our Board considers, among other factors, trends in our levels of funds from operations, together with associated recurring capital improvements, tenant improvements, leasing commissions and incentives, and adjustments to straight-line rents to reflect cash rents received to achieve a targeted payout ratio. If some or all of these factors were to trend downward for a sustained period of time, our Board could determine to reduce our dividend rate. If we do not maintain or increase the dividend rate on our common shares in the future, it could have an adverse effect on the market price of our common shares.

Additionally, the market value of our securities can be adversely affected by many factors, including certain factors related to our REIT status.

The market value of our securities can be adversely affected by many factors.

As with any public company, a number of factors may adversely influence the public market price of our common shares. These factors include:

level of institutional interest in us;
perceived attractiveness of investment in us, in comparison to other REITs;
perceived attractiveness of the Washington, DC metro and Sunbelt regions;
attractiveness of securities of REITs in comparison to other asset classes taking into account, among other things, that a substantial portion of REITs’ dividends may be taxed as ordinary income;
our financial condition and performance;
the market’s perception of our growth potential and potential future cash dividends;
investor confidence in the stock and bond markets generally;
national economic conditions and general stock and bond market conditions;
government uncertainty, action or regulation;
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increases in market interest rates, which may lead investors to expect a higher annual yield from our distributions in relation to the price of our shares;
uncertainty around and changes in U.S. federal tax laws;
changes in our credit ratings; and
any negative change in the level of our dividend or the partial payment thereof in common shares.

Additionally, any future offerings of our shares may dilute the holdings of our existing shareholders, reduce the market price of our shares, or both. Holders of our shares are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution.

Risks Related to Taxes and our Status as a REIT

The loss of our tax status as a REIT would have significant adverse consequences to us and the value of our common shares.

We believe that we qualify as a REIT, and we intend to continue to operate in a manner that will allow us to continue to qualify as a REIT. However, our declaration of trust provides that our Board may revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without the approval of our shareholders, if it determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that we are qualified as a REIT, or that we will remain qualified as a REIT in the future. This is because qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex provisions of the Code which include maintaining ownership of specified minimum levels of real estate-related assets, generating specified minimum levels of real estate-related income, maintaining certain diversity of ownership requirements with respect to our shares and distributing at least 90% of our “REIT taxable income” (determined before the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains) on an annual basis. Moreover, the complexity of these provisions and of applicable treasury regulations is greater in the case of a REIT that, like us, holds some of its assets through entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Only limited judicial and administrative interpretations of the REIT rules exist. In addition, qualification as a REIT involves the determination of various factual matters and circumstances not entirely within our control.

If we fail to qualify as a REIT, we could face serious tax consequences that could substantially reduce our funds available for payment of dividends for each of the years involved because:
(i)we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the regular corporate rate, without any deduction for dividends paid to shareholders in computing our taxable income, and possibly increased state and local taxes; and
(ii)unless we are entitled to relief under statutory provisions, we would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost.

This treatment would reduce net earnings available for investment or distribution to shareholders because of the additional tax liability for the year (or years) involved. To the extent that distributions to shareholders had been made based on the assumption of our qualification as a REIT, we might be required to borrow funds or to liquidate certain of our investments to pay the applicable tax. As a result of these factors, our failure to qualify as a REIT could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. If we fail to qualify as a REIT but are eligible for certain relief provisions, then we may retain our status as a REIT but may be required to pay a penalty tax, which could be substantial.

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends.

The maximum tax rate applicable to income from “qualified dividends” payable by non-REIT C corporations to U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates generally is 20% (excluding the 3.8% net investment income tax). Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for the maximum 20% reduced rate and are taxed at applicable ordinary income tax rates, except to the extent that certain holding requirements have been met and a REIT’s dividends are attributable to dividends received by a REIT from taxable corporations (such as a taxable REIT subsidiary), to income that was subject to tax at the REIT/corporate level, or to dividends properly designated by the REIT as “capital gain dividends.” For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of their dividends from REITs (excluding qualified dividend income and capital gains dividends). For those U.S. shareholders in the top marginal tax bracket of 37%, the deduction for REIT dividends yields an effective income tax rate of 29.6% (excluding the net investment income tax) on REIT dividends, which is higher than the 20% tax rate on qualified dividend income paid by non-REIT C corporations (although the maximum effective rate applicable to such dividends, after taking into account the 21% U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to non-REIT C corporations is 36.8% (excluding the 3.8% net investment income tax)). Although the reduced rates applicable to dividend income from non-REIT C corporations do not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends payable by REITs, these reduced rates could cause investors who are non-corporate taxpayers to perceive
22


investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the shares of non-REIT C corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the stock of REITs, including our common shares.

The REIT distribution requirements could require us to borrow funds during unfavorable market conditions or subject us to tax, which would reduce the cash available for distribution to our shareholders.

In order to qualify as a REIT, we generally must distribute to our shareholders, on an annual basis, at least 90% of our “REIT taxable income,” determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains. In addition, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the regular corporate rate (currently 21%) to the extent that we distribute less than 100% of our net taxable income (including net capital gains) and will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the amount by which our distributions in any calendar year are less than a minimum amount specified under U.S. federal income tax laws. We intend to continue to distribute our net income to our shareholders in a manner intended to satisfy the REIT 90% distribution requirement and to avoid U.S. federal income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax.

In addition, from time to time our taxable income may exceed our net income as determined by GAAP. This may occur, for instance, because realized capital losses are deducted in determining our GAAP net income but may not be deductible in computing our taxable income. In addition, we may incur nondeductible capital expenditures or be required to make debt or amortization payments. As a result of the foregoing, we may generate less cash flow than taxable income in a particular year and we may incur U.S. federal income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax on that income if we do not distribute such income to shareholders in that year. In that event, we may be required to (i) use cash reserves, (ii) incur debt at rates or times that we regard as unfavorable, (iii) sell assets in adverse market conditions, (iv) distribute amounts that would otherwise be invested in future acquisitions, capital expenditures or repayment of debt, or (v) make a taxable distribution of our shares as part of a distribution in which shareholders may elect to receive our shares or (subject to a limit measured as a percentage of the total distribution) cash in order to satisfy the REIT 90% distribution requirement and to avoid U.S. federal income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax in that year. These alternatives could increase our costs or reduce or dilute our equity. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to grow, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The U.S. federal income tax treatment of the cash that we might receive from cash settlement of a forward sale agreement is unclear and could jeopardize our ability to meet the REIT qualification requirements.

We may enter into forward sale agreements from time to time and, subject to certain conditions, we have the right to elect physical, cash or net share settlement under these agreements at any time and from time to time, in part or in full. In the event that we elect to settle a forward sale agreement for cash and the settlement price is below the forward sale price, we would be entitled to receive a cash payment from the applicable forward purchaser(s). Under Section 1032 of the Code, generally, no gains and losses are recognized by a corporation in dealing in its own shares, including pursuant to a “securities futures contract,” as defined in the Code by reference to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although we believe that any amount received by us in exchange for our common shares would qualify for the exemption under Section 1032 of the Code, because it is not entirely clear whether a forward sale agreement qualifies as a “securities futures contract,” the U.S. federal income tax treatment of any cash settlement payment we receive is uncertain. In the event that we recognize a significant gain from the cash settlement of a forward sale agreement, we might not be able to satisfy the gross income requirements applicable to REITs under the Code. If we were to fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for such year if we were entitled to relief under certain provisions of the Code. If these relief provisions were inapplicable, we would not qualify to be taxed as a REIT.

Even if we qualify as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow.

Even if we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we may be subject to certain U.S. federal, state and local taxes on our income, property or net worth, including taxes on any undistributed income, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, and state or local income, property and transfer taxes. Moreover, if we have net income from “prohibited transactions,” that income will be subject to a 100% tax. The need to avoid prohibited transactions could cause us to forego or defer sales of properties that might otherwise be in our best interest to sell. In addition, we could, in certain circumstances, be required to pay an excise or penalty tax (which could be significant in amount) in order to utilize one or more relief provisions under the Code to maintain our qualification as a REIT. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for the payment of our debt obligations and distributions to shareholders. Our taxable REIT subsidiary (and any taxable REIT subsidiary formed in the future) generally will be subject to U.S. federal, state and local corporate income tax on their taxable income. Moreover, while we will attempt to ensure that our dealings with our taxable REIT subsidiary (and any taxable REIT subsidiary formed in the future) do not adversely affect our REIT qualification, we cannot provide assurances that we will successfully achieve that result.

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Partnership tax audit rules could have a material adverse effect on us.

Under current federal partnership tax audit rules, subject to certain exceptions, any audit adjustment to items of income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit of a partnership (and a partner’s allocable share thereof) is determined, and taxes, interest, and penalties attributable thereto are assessed and collected, at the partnership level. With respect to any partnership in which we invest, unless such partnership makes an election or takes certain steps to require the partners to pay their tax on their allocable shares of the adjustment, it is possible that such partnership would be required to pay additional taxes, interest, and penalties as a result of an audit adjustment. We could be required to bear the economic burden of those taxes, interest, and penalties even though we, as a REIT, may not otherwise have been required to pay additional corporate‑level taxes had we owned the assets of the partnership directly.

There is a risk of changes in the tax laws which may adversely affect our taxation as a REIT and taxation of our shareholders.

The IRS, the United States Treasury Department and Congress frequently review U.S. federal income tax legislation, regulations and other guidance. Most recently, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made to the U.S. federal income tax laws in connection with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. We cannot predict whether, when or to what extent new U.S. federal tax laws, regulations, interpretations or rulings will be adopted. Further, from time to time, changes in state and local tax laws or regulations are enacted, which may result in an increase in our tax liability. Any legislative action may prospectively or retroactively modify our tax treatment and, therefore, may adversely affect our taxation or taxation of our shareholders. We urge you to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our common shares.

ITEM 1B: UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 1C: CYBERSECURITY

We are committed and focused on cybersecurity and seek to ensure the safeguarding of data entrusted to us. Our cybersecurity strategy combines prevention with resiliency and continuous improvement to help enhance our organization’s cyber posture. We regularly reevaluate the threat landscape and evolve our strategies to address new threats. In addition to regularly refining our protection methodology, we focus on identification of, response to, and recovery from a cyber-attack. Our program employs the strengths of people, processes, and technology to protect resident, employee, and organization data.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Processes

In managing cybersecurity risks, we follow a structured framework informed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Cybersecurity Framework. This framework provides a comprehensive set of guidelines and leading practices, enabling us to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from cyber threats and potential cybersecurity incidents. Regularly benchmarking our cybersecurity measures against the NIST framework helps ensure that our protocols remain robust and current in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Our Cybersecurity Risk Management (“CRM”) processes are ingrained in our overall Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) process. As part of our ERM process, department leaders identify, assess and evaluate risks impacting Elme and its operations across several pillars corresponding to significant business processes, including those risks related to cybersecurity. The IT department reviews risks, threats, and trends related to cybersecurity on a daily basis and formally discusses the Company's cybersecurity strategy on a weekly basis. We evaluate the methods, procedures and initiatives that reduce identified inherent risks and the residual risk to the Company. The identified risks and the processes we use to manage these risks are presented to the executive team and the Board on at least an annual basis. We report results of our ERM process, along with an assessment of top risks and corresponding risk management strategy, to the Board. Cybersecurity is a distinct pillar of our ERM process. Some of our key risks concerning cybersecurity that are included in our CRM processes include the following:

Data loss and/or damages to systems resulting from malicious or accidental actions of an internal employee,
external parties committing social engineering (e.g., phishing) or business email compromise attacks,
third-party software service providers suffering a cybersecurity incident that has a significant impact on our business, data or ability to operate, and
a ransomware attack resulting in encrypted data and release of confidential company and/or resident information.
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The Company’s Board of Trustees does not believe that there are currently any risks from cybersecurity threats that are reasonably likely to materially affect the Company or its business strategy, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.

To manage these risks, we take various actions, including the following:

Require an annual user awareness and education program in which new and existing employees complete assessments to benchmark their awareness of cybersecurity threats and leading practices,
conduct regular email phishing tests with additional training provided to employees who fail the tests,
perform in-house vulnerability management and third-party network penetration testing,
secure insurance coverage for cybersecurity incidents,
routinely benchmark our cybersecurity practices against industry leading frameworks,
conduct incident response tabletop exercises to test our security countermeasures and incident response program,
engage a third-party firm to audit our cybersecurity procedures,
engage a third-party Managed Security Service Provider to perform network and endpoints monitoring,

These actions help us identify opportunities for improvement in our incident preparedness and response processes.

In the event of a cybersecurity incident, we maintain a regularly tested incident response program. Pursuant to the program and its escalation protocols, designated personnel are responsible for assessing the severity of the incident and associated threat, containing the threat, remediating the threat, including recovery of data and access to systems, analyzing any reporting and disclosure obligations associated with the incident, and performing post-incident analysis and program enhancements. While the personnel assigned to an incident response team may depend on the particular facts and circumstances, the team is generally led by the Chief Information Officer (“CIO”) or another member of the IT team and will include other information technology and legal personnel. The incident response team regularly reports to senior management, in the event of a potentially notable incident. The CIO or another member of the incident response team also reports periodically to the Company’s Board regarding cybersecurity incidents impacting us.

We use third parties for various services such as property management, enterprise resource planning software and cloud computing. The use of third parties exposes us to risks that cybersecurity incidents at a third-party provider would impact Elme’s operations and data security. We identify these risks with our robust evaluation program for our third-party partners, in which we assess third-party cybersecurity controls through a questionnaire and include security terms in our contracts where applicable. We mitigate these risks by assessing cybersecurity practices of new providers, continually reviewing and monitoring the cybersecurity practices of our major service providers and conducting periodic reviews of the cybersecurity strategy and posture of our other significant providers. We also consider cybersecurity incidents at our third-party providers in our business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

We have not experienced any material cybersecurity incidents to date. Notwithstanding the extensive approach we take to address cybersecurity, we may not be successful in preventing or mitigating all cybersecurity incidents or threats. See Item 1A. “Risk Factors” for a discussion of cybersecurity risks.

Governance

Elme’s leadership is committed to maintaining a secure environment that upholds high standards of privacy and data protection. The executive team reviews industry specific cybersecurity statistics and updates monthly from the IT team. We have documented control procedures that govern access to sensitive data and changes made to critical business systems. Our Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan (“CIRP”) helps ensure timely notification of cybersecurity incidents to management and the Board.

Our CIO, has been responsible for the development, enhancement, and oversight of cybersecurity programs in her role as CIO for over a decade at two publicly traded real estate companies. She is a member of the Real Estate Cyber Consortium, the National Multi Housing Council Data Privacy, Security, and Information Management Committee, and the RE-ISAC Cybersecurity Working Group.

The Board is responsible for review and oversight of Elme’s cybersecurity risks and the programs and steps implemented by management to assess, manage and mitigate such risks. In the event of a cybersecurity incident, the Board is informed and updated by the incident response team as appropriate. Executive management provides regular updates during board meetings to help ensure that our trustees are informed about the evolving threat landscape and our risk management strategies. The Board
25


receives a cyber update from the CIO on an annual basis. The Board receives communications via email from the CIO on topics of interest throughout the year.

26



ITEM 2: PROPERTIES

The schedule on the following pages lists our real estate investment portfolio as of December 31, 2023, which consisted of 28 residential communities, one office building and land held for development. Cost information is included in Schedule III to our financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Schedule of Properties
PropertiesLocationYear AcquiredYear Constructed/Renovated# of Homes
Average Occupancy, year ended
December 31, 2023
Ending Occupancy, as of December 31, 2023
Residential Communities    
Elme AlexandriaAlexandria, VA20191990532 94.6 %95.7 %
Cascade at LandmarkAlexandria, VA20191988277 96.2 %97.5 %
Clayborne Alexandria, VAN/A200874 96.3 %95.9 %
Riverside ApartmentsAlexandria, VA201619711,222 96.1 %97.1 %
Bennett ParkArlington, VAN/A2007224 95.7 %96.4 %
Park AdamsArlington, VA19691959200 96.4 %96.0 %
The MaxwellArlington, VAN/A2014163 97.0 %96.9 %
The ParamountArlington, VA20131984135 96.8 %97.8 %
The WellingtonArlington, VA20151960710 95.9 %96.9 %
TroveArlington, VAN/A2020401 95.9 %95.5 %
Roosevelt TowersFalls Church, VA19651964191 96.0 %97.9 %
Elme DullesHerndon, VA20192000328 96.0 %97.3 %
Elme HerndonHerndon, VA20191991283 96.0 %96.5 %
Elme LeesburgLeesburg, VA20191986134 95.7 %97.0 %
Elme ManassasManassas, VA20191986408 94.2 %93.1 %
The Ashby at McLeanMcLean, VA19961982268 95.9 %95.5 %
3801 Connecticut AvenueWashington, DC19631951307 96.5 %96.4 %
Kenmore ApartmentsWashington, DC20081948371 95.8 %95.7 %
Yale WestWashington, DC20142011216 95.6 %97.2 %
Elme BethesdaBethesda, MD19971986193 96.8 %98.4 %
Elme Watkins MillGaithersburg, MD20191975210 95.6 %96.2 %
Elme GermantownGermantown, MD20191990218 96.0 %95.9 %
Elme ConyersConyers, GA20211999240 93.8 %93.3 %
Elme Eagles LandingStockbridge, GA20212000490 92.4 %89.0 %
Elme MariettaMarietta, GA20221975420 92.4 %90.7 %
Elme Sandy SpringsSandy Springs, GA20221972389 93.4 %91.3 %
Elme CumberlandSmyrna, GA20221982270 93.3 %91.1 %
Elme Druid HillsAtlanta, GA20231987500 93.4 %93.8 %
Subtotal Residential Communities9,374 95.2 %95.2 %

PropertyLocationYear AcquiredYear Constructed/RenovatedNet Rentable Square Feet
Percent Leased, as of
December 31, 2023 (1)
Ending Occupancy, as of December 31, 2023 (1)
Office Building
Watergate 600Washington, DC20171972/1997300,000 87.8 %87.8 %
______________________________
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(1)    Percent leased and ending occupancy calculations are based on square feet and includes temporary lease agreements for Watergate 600. Percent leased is the percentage of net rentable area for which fully executed leases exist and may include signed leases for space not yet occupied by the tenant.

ITEM 3: LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

None.

ITEM 4: MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

None.
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PART II

ITEM 5: MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market and Shareholder Information: Our shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ELME. As of February 13, 2024, there were 2,651 shareholders of record.

Issuer Repurchases; Unregistered Sales of Securities: A summary of our repurchases of our common shares of beneficial interest for the three months ended December 31, 2023 was as follows:
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Period
Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs (2)
Maximum Number (or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares that May Yet be Purchased
October 1 - October 31, 2023— $— 0$50,000,000
November 1 - November 30, 2023— — 050,000,000
December 1 - December 31, 202324,049 14.49 050,000,000
Total24,049 $14.49 0
______________________________
(1)    Represents restricted shares surrendered by employees to Elme Communities to satisfy such employees' applicable statutory minimum tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of restricted shares.
(2)    On October 26, 2023, the Board authorized and approved a share repurchase program of up to $50.0 million of the Company’s common shares of beneficial interest over a period of two years, subject to any applicable limitations or restrictions set forth in our existing credit facility and other debt agreements. The share repurchase program is scheduled to expire on October 25, 2025, unless extended by the Board.

Performance Graph:

The following line graph sets forth, for the period from December 31, 2018, through December 31, 2023, a comparison of the percentage change in the cumulative total shareholder return on our common shares compared to the cumulative total return of the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index and the MSCI US REIT Index. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2018, in shares of our common shares and each of the aforementioned indices and that all dividends were reinvested without the payment of any commissions. There can be no assurance that the performance of our shares will continue in line with the same or similar trends depicted in the graph below.

1390
This performance graph shall not be deemed "filed" for the purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or incorporated by reference into any filing by us under the Securities Act of 1933, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

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ITEM 6: RESERVED

ITEM 7: MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

We provide Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) in addition to the accompanying consolidated financial statements and notes to assist readers in understanding our results of operations and financial condition. We organize the MD&A as follows:

Overview. Discussion of our business outlook, operating results, investment activity, financing activity and capital requirements to provide context for the remainder of MD&A.
Results of Operations. Discussion of our financial results comparing 2023 to 2022.
Liquidity and Capital Resources. Discussion of our financial condition and analysis of changes in our capital structure and cash flows.
Funds From Operations. Calculation of NAREIT Funds From Operations (“NAREIT FFO”), a non-GAAP supplemental measure to net income.
Critical Accounting Estimates. Descriptions of accounting policies that reflect significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

When evaluating our financial condition and operating performance, we focus on the following financial and non-financial indicators:

Net operating income (“NOI”), calculated as set forth below under the caption "Results of Operations - Net Operating Income." NOI is a non-GAAP supplemental measure to net income.
Funds From Operations (“NAREIT FFO”), calculated as set forth below under the caption “Funds from Operations.” NAREIT FFO is a non-GAAP supplemental measure to net income.
Average occupancy, calculated as average daily occupied apartment homes as a percentage of total apartment homes.

For purposes of evaluating comparative operating performance, we categorize our properties as “same-store” or “non-same-store”. Same-store portfolio properties include properties that were owned for the entirety of the years being compared and exclude properties under redevelopment or development and properties acquired, sold or classified as held for sale during the years being compared. We define development properties as those for which we have planned or ongoing major construction activities on existing or acquired land pursuant to an authorized development plan. Development properties are categorized as same-store when they have reached stabilized occupancy (90%) before the start of the prior year. We define redevelopment properties as those for which we have planned or ongoing significant development and construction activities on existing or acquired buildings pursuant to an authorized plan, which has an impact on current operating results, occupancy and the ability to lease space with the intended result of a higher economic return on the property. We categorize a redevelopment property as same-store when redevelopment activities have been complete for the majority of each year being compared.

Overview

Our revenues are derived primarily from the ownership and operation of income producing property. As of December 31, 2023, we owned approximately 9,400 residential apartment homes in the Washington, DC and Atlanta metro regions. We also own and operate approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space in the Washington, DC metro region.

During 2022, we completed acquisitions of three apartment communities in Georgia with a combined total of 1,079 apartment homes for a total contract purchase price of $283.2 million. During 2023, we completed the acquisition of Elme Druid Hills, a 500-unit apartment community in Atlanta, Georgia for a contract purchase price of $108.0 million.

In connection with our strategic transformation, which shifted our business away from the commercial sector to the residential sector, we redesigned our operating model for purposes of more efficiently and effectively supporting residential operations. This operating model redesign included insourcing the property-level management activities at our multifamily properties previously performed by third-party management companies. Community onboarding began in October 2022, and we have transitioned all of our residential communities to Elme management as of July 2023. Costs related to the strategic transformation, including the allocation of internal costs, consulting, advisory and termination benefits, are included in transformation costs on our consolidated statements of operations. We recognized $6.3 million and $9.7 million of transformation costs, net of amounts capitalized, on the consolidated statements of operations during 2023 and 2022, respectively. We do not anticipate incurring any additional transformation costs in the future. We expect to realize significant operational benefits from this operating model redesign.
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Operating Results

The discussion that follows is based on our Operating Results. The ability to compare one period to another is significantly affected
by the acquisitions completed 2023 and 2022 (see note 3 to the consolidated financial statements).


Net loss, NOI and NAREIT FFO for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows (in thousands, except percentage amounts):
Year Ended December 31,
20232022Change% Change
Net loss
$(52,977)$(30,868)$(22,109)71.6 %
NOI (1)
$148,081 $135,379 $12,702 9.4 %
NAREIT FFO (2)
$77,833 $60,854 $16,979 27.9 %
______________________________
(1) See page 33 of the MD&A for reconciliations of NOI to net (loss) income.
(2) See page 43 of the MD&A for reconciliations of NAREIT FFO to net (loss) income.
 
The increase in net loss is primarily due to a real estate impairment in our office property ($41.9 million), higher interest expense ($5.5 million) and higher property management expenses ($0.7 million) in 2023. These were partially offset by higher NOI ($12.7 million), lower loss on extinguishment of debt ($4.9 million), lower transformation costs ($3.3 million), lower depreciation and amortization expenses ($2.8 million), and lower general and administrative expenses ($2.4 million).

The higher NOI is primarily due to higher NOI from same-store properties ($9.2 million) and the acquisitions of Elme Marietta ($1.7 million) and Elme Cumberland ($1.0 million) in 2022 and Elme Druid Hills ($1.7 million) in 2023, partially offset by lower NOI at Watergate 600 ($0.3 million) and Elme Sandy Springs ($0.4 million). The higher same-store NOI was primarily due to higher rental rates. Residential same-store average occupancy for our portfolio increased to 95.6% as of December 31, 2023 from 95.4% as of December 31, 2022.

The higher NAREIT FFO is primarily due to higher NOI ($12.7 million), lower loss on extinguishment of debt ($4.9 million), lower transformation costs ($3.3 million) and lower general and administrative expenses ($2.4 million). These were partially offset by higher interest expense ($5.5 million) and higher property management expenses ($0.7 million).

Investment Activity

Significant investment activity during 2023 included the acquisition of Elme Druid Hills, a 500-unit apartment community in Atlanta, Georgia for a contract purchase price of $108.0 million during the third quarter of 2023. The acquisition was funded through cash and borrowings under the Company's $700 million unsecured revolving credit facility (“Revolving Credit Facility”).

Financing Activity

Significant financing activity during 2023 included entering into a $125.0 million unsecured term loan (“2023 Term Loan”) with an interest rate of SOFR (subject to a credit spread adjustment of 10 basis points) plus a margin of 95 basis points (subject to adjustment depending on Elme Communities' credit rating). We used the proceeds from the 2023 Term Loan to prepay the $100.0 million 2018 Term Loan in full and a portion of our borrowings under our Revolving Credit Facility. The 2023 Term Loan has a two-year term ending in January 2025, with two one-year extension options.

During 2023, we executed an amendment to our Revolving Credit Facility to convert the benchmark interest rate from LIBOR to an adjusted SOFR, with no change in the applicable interest rate margins. As of December 31, 2023, the interest rate on the Revolving Credit Facility is based on an adjusted daily SOFR (inclusive of the 0.10% credit spread adjustment) plus 0.85% applicable margin, the daily SOFR is 5.38% and the facility fee is 0.20%. As of February 13, 2024, our Revolving Credit Facility has a borrowing capacity of $535.0 million.

Capital Requirements

We do not currently have any debt maturities scheduled for 2024. We expect to have additional capital requirements as set forth on page 37 (Liquidity and Capital Resources - Capital Requirements).
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Results of Operations

The discussion that follows is based on our consolidated results of operations for the two years ended December 31, 2023. The ability to compare one period to another is significantly affected by the acquisitions completed during those years (see note 3 to the consolidated financial statements).
Net Operating Income

NOI, defined as real estate rental revenue less direct real estate operating expenses, is a non-GAAP measure. NOI is calculated as net income, less non-real estate revenue and the results of discontinued operations (including the gain or loss on sale, if any), plus interest expense, depreciation and amortization, lease origination expenses, general and administrative expenses, acquisition costs, real estate impairment, casualty gain and losses and gain or loss on extinguishment of debt. NOI does not include management expenses, which consist of corporate property management costs and property management fees paid to third parties. NOI is the primary performance measure we use to assess the results of our operations at the property level. We believe that NOI is a useful performance measure because, when compared across periods, it reflects the impact on operations of trends in occupancy rates, rental rates and operating costs on an unleveraged basis, providing perspective not immediately apparent from net income. NOI excludes certain components from net income in order to provide results more closely related to a property’s results of operations. For example, interest expense is not necessarily linked to the operating performance of a real estate asset. In addition, depreciation and amortization, because of historical cost accounting and useful life estimates, may distort operating performance at the property level. As a result of the foregoing, we provide NOI as a supplement to net income, calculated in accordance with GAAP. NOI does not represent net income or income from continuing operations calculated in accordance with GAAP. As such, NOI should not be considered an alternative to these measures as an indication of our operating performance. A reconciliation of NOI to net income follows.


































32



2023 Compared to 2022

The following tables reconcile net income to NOI and provide the basis for our discussion of our consolidated results of operations and NOI in 2023 compared to 2022. All amounts are in thousands except percentage amounts.

Year Ended December 31,
20232022$ Change% Change
Net loss$(52,977)$(30,868)$(22,109)71.6 %
Adjustments:
Property management expense8,108 7,436 672 9.0 %
General and administrative expense25,887 28,258 (2,371)(8.4)%
Transformation costs6,339 9,686 (3,347)(34.6)%
Real estate depreciation and amortization88,950 91,722 (2,772)(3.0)%
Real estate impairment41,860 — 41,860 100.0 %
Interest expense30,429 24,940 5,489 22.0 %
Loss on extinguishment of debt, net54 4,917 (4,863)(98.9)%
Other income(569)(712)143 (20.1)%
Total net operating income (NOI)$148,081 $135,379 $12,702 9.4 %
Residential revenue:
Same-store portfolio$185,958 $174,491 $11,467 6.6 %
Acquisitions (1)
22,429 14,936 7,493 50.2 %
Development— — — — %
Non-residential (2)
924 1,073 (149)(13.9)%
Total209,311 190,500 18,811 9.9 %
Residential expenses:
Same-store portfolio65,067 62,818 2,249 3.6 %
Acquisitions8,996 5,508 3,488 63.3 %
Development224 128 96 75.0 %
Non-residential248 281 (33)(11.7)%
Total74,535 68,735 5,800 8.4 %
Residential NOI:
Same-store portfolio120,891 111,673 9,218 8.3 %
Acquisitions13,433 9,428 4,005 42.5 %
Development(224)(128)(96)75.0 %
Non-residential676 792 (116)(14.6)%
Total134,776 121,765 13,011 10.7 %
Other NOI (3)
13,305 13,614 (309)(2.3)%
Total NOI$148,081 $135,379 $12,702 9.4 %
______________________________ 
(1)Acquisitions:
2022: Elme Sandy Springs, Elme Cumberland, Elme Marietta
2023: Elme Druid Hills
(2)Non-residential: Includes revenues and expenses from retail operations at residential properties.
(3)Other (classified as continuing operations): Watergate 600

    
Real Estate Rental Revenue

Real estate rental revenue from our apartment communities is comprised of (a) rent from operating leases of residential apartments with terms of approximately one year or less, recognized on a straight-line basis, (b) revenue from the recovery of operating expenses from our residents, (c) credit losses on lease related receivables, (d) revenue from leases of retail space at our apartment
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communities and (e) parking and other tenant charges.

Real estate rental revenue from same-store residential properties increased $11.5 million, or 6.6%, to $186.0 million for 2023, compared to $174.5 million for 2022, primarily due to higher rental income ($10.4 million), higher recoveries ($1.1 million), lower rent abatements ($0.5 million) and higher fee and ancillary income ($0.8 million). The increase is partially offset by higher credit losses ($1.3 million).

Real estate rental revenue from acquisitions increased $7.5 million or 50.2% to $22.4 million for 2023, compared to $14.9 million for 2022, primarily due to the acquisitions of Elme Druid Hills ($2.6 million) during the third quarter of 2023, Elme Marietta ($2.6 million) and Elme Cumberland ($1.7 million) during the second quarter of 2022, and Elme Sandy Springs ($0.6 million) during the first quarter of 2022.

Average occupancy for residential properties for 2023 and 2022 was as follows:
December 31, 2023December 31, 2022% Change
Same-StoreNon-Same-StoreTotalSame-StoreNon-Same-StoreTotalSame-StoreNon-Same-StoreTotal
95.6 %93.1 %95.2 %95.4 %94.2 %95.3 %0.2 %(1.1)%(0.1)%
The increase in same-store average occupancy was primarily due to higher average occupancy at Elme Bethesda, The Paramount, Roosevelt Towers, Riverside Apartments and The Maxwell. The increase is partially offset by lower average occupancy at Elme Eagles Landing, Elme Manassas and Elme Conyers.

Real Estate Expenses

Residential real estate expenses as a percentage of residential revenue for 2023 and 2022 were 35.6% and 36.1%, respectively.

Real estate expenses from same-store residential properties increased $2.2 million, or 3.6%, to $65.1 million for 2023, compared to $62.8 million for 2022, primarily due to higher utilities ($0.9 million), contract services ($0.5 million), real estate taxes ($0.5 million), marketing ($0.4 million) and insurance ($0.4 million) expenses. The increase is partially offset by lower administrative ($0.3 million) and repairs and maintenance ($0.2 million) expenses.

Real estate expenses from acquisitions increased $3.5 million in 2023 due to the acquisitions of Elme Druid Hills ($0.9 million) during the third quarter of 2023, Elme Sandy Springs ($1.0 million) during the first quarter of 2022 and Elme Marietta ($0.9 million) and Elme Cumberland ($0.7 million) during the second quarter of 2022.

Other NOI

Other NOI decreased due to lower net operating income at Watergate 600 ($0.3 million).

Other Income and Expenses

Property management expenses: Increase of $0.7 million primarily due to higher management fee expenses at same-store properties ($0.4 million) and due to the acquisitions of Elme Druid Hills ($0.1 million) during the third quarter of 2023 and Elme Marietta ($0.1 million) and Elme Cumberland ($0.1 million) during the second quarter of 2022.

General and administrative expenses: Decrease of $2.4 million primarily due to higher management fee offset ($4.7 million), lower incentive compensation ($2.4 million) and an adjustment to deferred taxes ($0.5 million) in 2023. The decrease is partially offset by higher payroll ($2.0 million), computer software ($0.9 million), professional services fees ($0.7 million), employee benefits ($0.5 million), severance ($0.5 million), corporate office moving ($0.5 million), and other ($0.2 million) expenses.

Transformation costs: Decrease of $3.3 million primarily due to lower consulting ($1.9 million), lower accelerated depreciation ($0.9 million), lower salary, benefit, and incentive compensation ($0.6 million), lower software implementation ($0.5 million), and lower third-party management transition ($0.3 million) costs. The decrease is partially offset by higher signing bonuses for new employees ($0.9 million).

Depreciation and amortization: Decrease of $2.8 million primarily due to lower depreciation and amortization at same-store residential properties ($2.0 million), the acquisitions of Elme Sandy Springs ($1.7 million), Elme Marietta ($1.5 million) and Elme Cumberland ($0.3 million) and lower depreciation and amortization at Watergate 600 ($0.4 million). The decrease is partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization at Elme Druid Hills ($3.1 million).
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Interest Expense: Interest expense by debt type for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 was as follows (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
Debt Type20232022$ Change% Change
Notes payable$23,152 $20,458 $2,694 13.2 %
Mortgage notes payable— 1,014 (1,014)100.0 %
Line of credit7,277 3,751 3,526 94.0 %
Capitalized interest— (283)283 100.0 %
Total$30,429 $24,940 $5,489 22.0 %
Notes payable: Increase primarily due to the $125.0 million 2023 Term Loan executed in January 2023, partially offset by prepayment of a $100.0 million portion of the 2018 Term Loan in January 2023.
Mortgage notes payable: Decrease due to the mortgages of $42.8 million and $33.7 million assumed in the acquisitions of Elme Marietta and Elme Cumberland, respectively, in the second quarter of 2022 and the extinguishment, in September 2022, of the liabilities associated with these mortgages though defeasance arrangements.
Line of credit: Increase primarily due to a weighted average interest rate of 6.2% and weighted average borrowings of $70.6 million in 2023, as compared to a weighted average interest rate of 4.2% and weighted average borrowings of $21.6 million in 2022.
Capitalized interest: Decrease primarily due to ceasing capitalization of interest on spending related to the multifamily development adjacent to Riverside Apartments due to a pause in development activities resulting from macroeconomic uncertainty.

Loss on extinguishment of debt: During 2022, we extinguished the liabilities associated with mortgage notes payable for Elme Marietta and Elme Cumberland through defeasance arrangements, recognizing aggregate losses on extinguishment of debt of $4.9 million.

Other income: Decrease of $0.1 million is due to lower tax refunds received in 2023 for office properties sold in prior years.

Real estate impairment: The real estate impairment charge of $41.9 million during 2023 reduced the carrying value of Watergate 600 to its estimated fair value (see note 3 to consolidated financial statements).

2022 Compared to 2021

For a discussion comparing the Company’s financial condition and results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021, refer to subsection “Results of Operations - 2022 Compared to 2021” of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

We believe we will have adequate liquidity over the next twelve months to operate our business and to meet our cash requirements, including meeting our debt obligations, capital and contractual obligations, as well as the payment of dividends, and funding possible growth opportunities.

In connection with our strategic transformation, we redesigned our operating model for purposes of more efficiently and effectively supporting residential operations. We recognized $6.3 million and $9.7 million and $6.6 million of transformation costs, net of amounts capitalized, on the consolidated statements of operations during 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively. We expect to realize significant operational benefits from this operating model redesign. We also believe we have adequate liquidity beyond 2023, with no debt maturities until 2025 and only $282.0 million of scheduled debt maturities prior to 2028, based on current amounts outstanding under our Revolving Credit Facility.

We will continue to assess the payment of our dividends on a quarterly basis. Future determinations regarding the declaration and payment of dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our Board which considers, among other factors, trends in our levels of funds from operations and ongoing capital requirements to achieve a targeted payout ratio.

Capital Structure

We manage our capital structure to reflect a long-term investment approach, generally seeking to match the cash flow of our assets with a mix of equity and various debt instruments. We expect that our capital structure will allow us to obtain additional capital from diverse sources that could include additional equity offerings of common shares, public and private secured and unsecured debt financings, asset dispositions, operating units and joint venture equity. Our ability to raise funds through the incurrence of debt and issuance of equity securities is dependent on, among other things, general economic conditions including general market conditions for REITs, our operating performance, our debt rating, the current trading price of our common shares and other capital market conditions. We analyze which source of capital we believe to be most advantageous to us at any particular point in time.

As of February 13, 2024, we had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $5.8 million and availability under our Revolving Credit Facility of $535.0 million. We currently expect that our potential sources of liquidity for acquisitions, development, redevelopment, expansion and renovation of properties, and operating and administrative expenses, may include:

Cash flow from operations;
Borrowings under our Revolving Credit Facility or other new short-term facilities;
Issuances of our equity securities and/or common units in operating partnerships;
Issuances of preferred shares;
Proceeds from long-term secured or unsecured debt financings, including construction loans and term loans, or the issuance of debt securities;
Investment from joint venture partners; and
Net proceeds from the sale of assets.

During 2024, we expect that we will have significant capital requirements, including the following:

Funding dividends and distributions to our shareholders (which we intend to continue to pay at or about current levels);
Approximately $34.0 - $39.0 million to invest in our existing portfolio of operating assets inclusive of $23.0 - $28.0 million of major capital expenditures; and
Funding for potential property acquisitions throughout 2024, offset by proceeds from potential property dispositions.

There can be no assurance that our capital requirements will not be materially higher or lower than the above expectations. We currently believe that we will generate sufficient cash flow from operations and potential property sales and have access to the capital resources necessary to fund our requirements in 2024. However, as a result of the uncertainty of the general market conditions in the greater Washington, DC metro and Sunbelt regions, economic conditions affecting the ability to attract and retain residents and tenants or achieve anticipated rental rates, declines in our share price, unfavorable changes in the supply of competing properties, or our properties not performing as expected, we may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations and property sales or otherwise have access to capital on favorable terms, or at all. If we are unable to obtain capital from other sources, we may need to alter capital spending to be materially different than what is stated above. If capital were not available, we may be unable to satisfy the distribution requirement applicable to REITs, make required principal and interest payments, make strategic acquisitions or make necessary and/or routine capital improvements or undertake improvement/redevelopment
36


opportunities with respect to our existing portfolio of operating assets.

Debt Financing

We generally use secured or unsecured, corporate-level debt, including unsecured notes, our Revolving Credit Facility, bank term loans and mortgages, to meet our borrowing needs. Long-term, we generally use fixed rate debt instruments in order to match the returns from our real estate assets. If we issue unsecured debt in the future, we will seek to ladder the maturities of our debt to mitigate exposure to interest rate risk in any particular future year. We also utilize variable rate debt for short-term financing purposes. At times, our mix of variable and fixed rate debt may not suit our needs. At those times, we may use derivative financial instruments including interest rate swaps and caps, forward interest rate options or interest rate options in order to assist us in managing our debt mix. We may either hedge our variable rate debt to give it an effective fixed interest rate or hedge fixed rate debt to give it an effective variable interest rate.

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As of December 31, 2023, our future debt principal payments are scheduled as follows (in thousands):

6164
YearUnsecured Notes Payable/Term LoansRevolving Credit FacilityTotal DebtAverage Interest Rate
2024— — $— — %
2025125,000 (1)157,000 (2)282,000 5.6 %
2026— — — — %
2027— — — — %
202850,000 — 50,000 7.4 %
Thereafter350,000 — 350,000 4.1 %
Scheduled principal payments525,000 157,000 682,000 4.9 %
Premiums and discounts, net(94)— (94)
Debt issuance costs, net(2,561)— (2,561)
Total$522,345 $157,000 $679,345 4.9 %
______________________________
(1)During the first quarter of 2023, we entered into the $125.0 million 2023 Term Loan with an interest rate of SOFR (subject to a credit spread adjustment of 10 basis points) plus a margin of 95 basis points (subject to adjustment depending on Elme Communities’ credit rating). The 2023 Term Loan has a two-year term ending in January 2025, with two one-year extension options. We used the proceeds to prepay the $100.0 million 2018 Term Loan in full and a portion of our borrowings under our Revolving Credit Facility. Elme Communities had previously entered into an interest rate swap to effectively fix the interest rate for the remaining $100.0 million portion of the 2018 Term Loan. Following the prepayment of the 2018 Term Loan, the interest rate swap effectively fixed a $100.0 million portion of the 2023 Term Loan at 2.16% through the interest rate swap's expiration date of July 21, 2023. In March 2023, we entered into two interest rate swap arrangements with an aggregate notional amount of $125.0 million that effectively fixed the 2023 Term Loan’s interest rate at 4.73% beginning on July 21, 2023 through the 2023 Term Loan’s maturity date of January 10, 2025.
(2)The credit facility's term ends in August 2025, with two six-month extension options.

The weighted average maturity for our debt was 4.5 years as of December 31, 2023. If principal amounts due at maturity cannot be refinanced, extended or paid with proceeds of other capital transactions, such as new equity capital, our cash flow may be insufficient to repay all maturing debt. Prevailing interest rates or other factors at the time of a refinancing, such as possible reluctance of lenders to make commercial real estate loans, may result in higher interest rates and increased interest expense or inhibit our ability to finance our obligations.

From time to time, we may seek to repurchase and cancel our outstanding unsecured notes and term loans through open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions or otherwise. Such repurchases, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors. The amounts involved may be material.

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Debt Covenants

Pursuant to the terms of our Revolving Credit Facility, 2023 Term Loan and unsecured notes, we are subject to customary operating covenants and maintenance of various financial ratios.

Failure to comply with any of the covenants under our Revolving Credit Facility, 2023 Term Loan, unsecured notes or other debt instruments could result in a default under one or more of our debt instruments. This could cause our lenders to accelerate the timing of payments and could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, financial condition and liquidity. In addition, our ability to draw on our Revolving Credit Facility or incur other unsecured debt in the future could be restricted by the debt covenants.
As of December 31, 2023, we were in compliance with the covenants related to our Revolving Credit Facility, 2023 Term Loan and unsecured notes.

Common Equity

We have authorized for issuance 150.0 million common shares, of which approximately 87.9 million shares were outstanding at December 31, 2023.

On February 17, 2021, we entered into separate amendments to each of our existing equity distribution agreements (“Original Equity Distribution Agreements”) with each of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, BNY Mellon Capital Markets, LLC, Capital One Securities, Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. and Truist Securities, Inc. (f/k/a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.), each dated May 4, 2018 (collectively, as amended, the “Equity Distribution Agreements”) for our at-the-market program. Also on February 17, 2021, we entered into a separate equity distribution agreement with BTIG, LLC on the same terms as the Amended Equity Distribution Agreements (the “BTIG Equity Distribution Agreement”). On September 22, 2021, BTIG, LLC notified us that it was terminating the BTIG Equity Distribution Agreement, effective as of September 27, 2021. Pursuant to the Equity Distribution Agreements, we may sell, from time to time, up to an aggregate price of $550.0 million of our common shares of beneficial interest, $0.01 par value per share. Issuances of our common shares are made at market prices prevailing at the time of issuance. We may use net proceeds from the issuance of common shares under this program for general business purposes, including, without limitation, working capital, the acquisition, renovation, expansion, improvement, development or redevelopment of income producing property or the repayment of debt.

We did not issue common shares under the Equity Distribution Agreements in 2023. Our issuances and net proceeds on the Equity Distribution Agreements in 2022 and 2021 and the Original Equity Distribution Agreements in 2021, were as follows (in thousands, except per share data):

Year Ended December 31,
202320222021
Issuance of common shares— 1,032 1,636 
Weighted average price per share$— $26.27 $25.44 
Net proceeds$— 26,849 $40,462 

We have a dividend reinvestment program, whereby shareholders may use their dividends and optional cash payments to purchase common shares. The common shares sold under this program may either be common shares issued by us or common shares purchased in the open market.

Our issuances and net proceeds on the dividend reinvestment program for the three years ended December 31, 2023 were as follows (in thousands; except per share data):
Year Ended December 31,
202320222021
Issuance of common shares28 47 75 
Weighted average price per share$17.64 $22.40 $23.37 
Net proceeds$497 $1,030 $1,744 

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On October 26, 2023, the Board authorized and approved a share repurchase program of up to $50.0 million of the Company’s common shares of beneficial interest over a period of two years, subject to any applicable limitations or restrictions set forth in our existing credit facility and other debt agreements. The share repurchase program is scheduled to expire on October 25, 2025, unless extended by the Board.

Preferred Equity

Our Board can, at its discretion, authorize the issuance of up to 10.0 million preferred shares. The ability to issue preferred equity provides Elme Communities an additional financing tool that may be used to raise capital for future acquisitions or other business purposes. As of December 31, 2023, no preferred shares were issued and outstanding.


Capital Commitments

We will require capital for development and redevelopment projects currently underway and in the future. We previously engaged in predevelopment activities for the ground-up development of a residential property on land adjacent to Riverside Apartments, but as of the second quarter of 2022, we paused development activities. As of December 31, 2023, we had no outstanding contractual commitments related to our development and redevelopment projects and do not expect to spend on our development and redevelopment projects during 2024.

We anticipate funding approximately $23.0 - $28.0 million on several major renovation projects at our residential communities during 2024.

These projects include unit renovations, property technology initiatives, common area and mechanical upgrades, facade and retaining wall restorations and fire system upgrades. Not all of the anticipated spending had been committed via executed construction contracts at December 31, 2023. We expect to fund these projects using cash generated by our real estate operations, through borrowings on our Revolving Credit Facility, or raising additional debt or equity capital in the public market.

Contractual Obligations

As of December 31, 2023, certain contractual obligations will require significant capital as follows (in thousands):
 Payments due by Period
 TotalLess than 1
year
1-3 years4-5 yearsAfter 5
years
Long-term debt(1)
$806,442 $25,308 $336,918 $80,470 $363,746 
______________________________
(1)See notes 6 and 7 of the consolidated financial statements. Amounts include principal, interest and facility fees.

In addition to our long-term debt, we have committed building capital expenditures of $2.0 million in 2024 based on contracts in place as of December 31, 2023, along with other various standing or renewable contracts with vendors. The majority of these contracts can be canceled with immaterial or no cancellation penalties, with the exception of our elevator maintenance agreements and our electricity and gas purchase agreements. Contract terms on leases that can be canceled are generally one year or less.

Historical Cash Flows

Cash flows from operations are an important factor in our ability to sustain our dividend at its current rate. If our cash flows from operations were to decline significantly from current levels, we may have to reduce our dividend. Consolidated cash flows for the three years ended December 31, 2023 are summarized as follows (in thousands):
 Year ended December 31,Variance
2023202220212023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
Cash provided by operating activities$84,669 $73,211 $89,156 $11,458 $(15,945)
Cash (used in) provided by investing activities(146,221)(241,163)702,170 94,942 (943,333)
Cash provided by (used in) financing activities60,238 (56,416)(565,396)116,654 508,980 
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Net cash provided by operating activities increased in 2023 as compared to 2022 primarily due to higher rental revenue from the acquisitions of Elme Druid Hills in 2023 and Elme Sandy Springs, Elme Marietta and Elme Cumberland during 2022. Net cash provided by operating activities decreased in 2022 as compared to 2021 primarily due to the sales of twelve office properties (the "Office Portfolio") and eight retail properties (the "Retail Portfolio") during 2021 (see note 3 to the consolidated financial statements) and costs associated with our strategic transformation.

Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022 primarily due to the acquisitions of Elme Sandy Springs, Elme Marietta and Elme Cumberland during 2022, partially offset by the acquisition of Elme Druid Hills during 2023. Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities decreased in 2022 as compared to 2021 primarily due to the sales of the Office Portfolio and the Retail Portfolio during 2021. These were partially offset by the acquisitions of Elme Conyers and Elme Eagles Landing during 2021 and acquisitions of Elme Marietta, Elme Cumberland and Elme Sandy Springs during 2022.

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities increased in 2023 compared to 2022 primarily due to executing the $125.0 million 2023 Term Loan and net borrowings on the Revolving Credit Facility during 2023 and the repayment of mortgage notes during 2022. These were partially offset by the repayment of the $100.0 million 2018 Term Loan during 2023 and proceeds from equity issuances during 2022. Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities decreased in 2022 as compared to 2021 primarily due to a higher volume of debt repayments during 2021 and higher net proceeds from equity issuances and lower dividends paid in 2022.

Capital Improvements and Development Costs

Our capital improvement, development and redevelopment costs for the three years ended December 31, 2023 were as follows (in thousands):
 Year Ended December 31,
202320222021
Accretive capital improvements and development costs:
Acquisition related improvements$6,379 $5,236 $7,218 
Expansions and major renovations22,340 21,476 17,096 
Development/redevelopment— 698 8,406 
Tenant improvements (including first generation leases)17 1,337 2,427 
Total accretive capital improvements (1)
28,736 28,747 35,147 
Other capital improvements:9,482 8,464 5,669 
Total$38,218 $37,211 $40,816 
______________________________
(1)     We consider these capital improvements to be accretive to revenue and not necessarily to net income.

Included in the capital improvement and development costs listed above are capitalized employee compensation in the amount of $2.3 million, $1.1 million and $1.6 million for the three years ended December 31, 2023, respectively, and while none for the year ended December 31, 2023, capitalized interest in the amount of $0.3 million and $0.8 million for the two years ended December 31, 2022, respectively.

Accretive Capital Improvements

Acquisition Related Improvements: Acquisition related improvements are capital improvements to properties acquired during the preceding three years which were anticipated at the time we acquired the properties. These types of improvements were made in 2023 to the Elme Cumberland, Elme Marietta, Elme Sandy Springs, Elme Eagles Landing and Elme Conyers.

Expansions and Major Renovations: Expansion projects increase the rentable area of a property, while major renovation projects are improvements sufficient to increase the income otherwise achievable at a property. Expansions and major renovations during 2023 included facade and unit renovations and fire alarm system and flooring replacement at Riverside Apartments; unit and hallway renovations at Elme Alexandria; retail space conversion into additional units at The Ashby; unit renovations and SmartRent installations at Elme Dulles; roof replacement and unit renovations at Park Adams and unit and facade renovations at Elme Manassas.

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Development/Redevelopment: Development costs represent expenditures for ground up development of new operating properties. Redevelopment costs represent expenditures for improvements intended to reposition properties in their markets and generate more income than would be otherwise achievable. Development/redevelopment costs in 2022 and 2021 included predevelopment costs for a future residential development adjacent to Riverside Apartments, which is currently on hold.

Other Capital Improvements

Other capital improvements, also referred to as recurring capital improvements, are those not included in the above categories. Over time these costs will be recurring in nature to maintain a property's income and value. This category includes improvements made as needed upon vacancy of an apartment. Such improvements totaled $8.3 million in 2023, averaging approximately $2,200 per unit for the 42% of units which turned over relative to our total portfolio of apartment homes. Aside from improvements related to apartment turnover, these improvements include facade repairs, installation of new heating and air conditioning equipment, asphalt replacement, permanent landscaping, new lighting and new finishes. In addition, we incurred repair and maintenance expense of $4.0 million during 2023 to maintain the quality of our buildings.

Off Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have no off-balance sheet arrangements as of December 31, 2023 that are reasonably likely to have a current or future material effect on our financial condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.

Forward-Looking Statements

Some of the statements contained in this Form 10-K constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” or “potential” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases which are predictions of or indicate future events or trends and which do not relate solely to historical matters. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of Elme Communities to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Additional factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Elme Communities to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

(a)the risks associated with ownership of real estate in general and our real estate assets in particular;
(b)the economic health of the areas in which our properties are located, particularly with respect to the greater Washington, DC metro and Sunbelt regions;
(c)risks associated with our ability to execute on our strategies, including new strategies with respect to our operations and our portfolio, including the acquisition of apartment homes in the Sunbelt markets and our ability to realize any anticipated operational benefits from our internalization of community management functions;
(d)the risk of failure to enter into and/or complete acquisitions and dispositions;
(e)changes in the composition of our portfolio;
(f)reductions in or actual or threatened changes to the timing of federal government spending;
(g)the economic health of our residents;
(h)the impact from macroeconomic factors (including inflation, increases in interest rates, potential economic slowdowns or recessions and geopolitical conflicts);
(i)risks related to our ability to control our expenses if revenues decrease;
(j)compliance with applicable laws and corporate social responsibility goals, including those concerning the environment and access by persons with disabilities;
(k)risks related to not having adequate insurance to cover potential losses;
(l)changes in the market value of securities;
(m)terrorist attacks or actions and/or cyber-attacks;
(n)whether we will succeed in the day-to-day property management and leasing activities that we have previously outsourced;
(o)the availability and terms of financing and capital and the general volatility of securities markets;
(p)the risks related to our organizational structure and limitations of share ownership;
(q)failure to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT and the risks of changes in laws affecting REITs; and
(r)other factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors.”
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While forward-looking statements reflect our good faith beliefs, they are not guarantees of future performance. For a further discussion of these and other factors that could cause our future results to differ materially from any forward-looking statements, see the section entitled “Risk Factors.” We undertake no obligation to update our forward-looking statements or risk factors to reflect new information, future events, or otherwise.

Funds From Operations

NAREIT FFO is a widely used measure of operating performance for real estate companies. In its 2018 NAREIT FFO White Paper Restatement, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc. (“NAREIT”) defines NAREIT FFO as net income (computed in accordance with GAAP) excluding gains (or losses) associated with sales of properties; impairments of depreciable real estate, and real estate depreciation and amortization. We consider NAREIT FFO to be a standard supplemental measure for REITs, and believe it is a useful metric because it facilitates an understanding of the operating performance of our properties without giving effect to real estate depreciation and amortization, which historically assumes that the value of real estate assets diminishes predictably over time. Since real estate values have instead historically risen or fallen with market conditions, we believe that NAREIT FFO more accurately provides investors an indication of our ability to incur and service debt, make capital expenditures and fund other needs. Our NAREIT FFO may not be comparable to FFO reported by other REITs. These other REITs may not define the term in accordance with the current NAREIT definition or may interpret the current NAREIT definition differently.

The following table provides the calculation of our NAREIT FFO and a reconciliation of NAREIT FFO to net income for the three years ended December 31, 2023 (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
202320222021
Net (loss) income$(52,977)$(30,868)$16,384 
Adjustments:
Depreciation and amortization88,950 91,722 72,656 
Real estate impairment41,860 — — 
Discontinued operations:
Depreciation and amortization— — 22,904 
Gain on sale of depreciable real estate, net— — (46,441)
NAREIT FFO$77,833 $60,854 $65,503 

Critical Accounting Estimates

We base the discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. We evaluate these estimates on an on-going basis, including those related to estimated useful lives of real estate assets, estimated fair value of acquired leases, cost reimbursement income, bad debts, contingencies and litigation. We base the estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. We cannot assure you that actual results will not differ from those estimates.

We believe the following accounting estimates are the most critical to aid in fully understanding our reported financial results, and they require our most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, resulting from the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain.

Accounting for Asset Acquisitions

We allocate the purchase price, including transaction costs, of acquired assets, including physical assets and in-place leases, and assumed liabilities, based on their fair values. We determine the estimated fair values of the assets and liabilities in accordance with current GAAP fair value provisions. We determine the fair values of acquired buildings on an “as-if-vacant” basis considering a variety of factors, including the replacement cost of the property, estimated rental and absorption rates, estimated future cash flows and valuation assumptions consistent with current market conditions. We determine the fair value of land
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acquired based on comparisons to similar properties that have been recently marketed for sale or sold.

The fair value of in-place leases is based upon our evaluation of the specific characteristics of the leases. Factors considered in the fair value analysis include the estimated cost to replace the leases, including foregone rents and expense reimbursements during hypothetical expected lease-up periods (referred to as “absorption cost”), consideration of current market conditions and costs to execute similar leases. We classify absorption costs as other assets and amortize absorption costs as amortization expense on a straight-line basis over the remaining life of the underlying leases.

Real Estate Impairment

We recognize impairment losses on long-lived assets used in operations, development assets or land held for future development, if indicators of impairment are present and the net undiscounted cash flows estimated to be generated by those assets are less than the assets' carrying amount. Estimates of undiscounted cash flows are based on forward-looking assumptions, including annual and residual cash flows and our estimated holding period for each property. Such assumptions involve a high degree of judgment and could be affected by future economic and market conditions. When determining if a property has indicators of impairment, we evaluate the property's occupancy, our expected holding period for the property, strategic decisions regarding the property's future operations or development and other market factors. If such carrying amount is in excess of the estimated undiscounted cash flows from the operation and disposal of the property, we would recognize an impairment loss equivalent to an amount required to adjust the carrying amount to its estimated fair value, calculated in accordance with current GAAP fair value provisions. Assets held for sale are recorded at the lower of cost or fair value less costs to sell.


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ITEM 7A: QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

The principal material financial market risk to which we are exposed is interest rate risk. Our exposure to interest rate risk relates primarily to refinancing long-term fixed rate obligations, the opportunity cost of fixed rate obligations in a falling interest rate environment and our variable rate line of credit. We primarily enter into debt obligations to support general corporate purposes, including acquisition of real estate properties, capital improvements and working capital needs. We use interest rate swap arrangements to reduce our exposure to the variability in future cash flows attributable to changes in interest rates.

The table below presents principal, interest and related weighted average interest rates by year of maturity, with respect to debt outstanding on December 31, 2023 (dollars in thousands).
20242025202620272028ThereafterTotalFair Value
Unsecured fixed rate debt
Principal— $125,000 (1)$— $— $50,000 $350,000 $525,000 $466,668 
Interest payments$23,908 $17,995 $17,995 $17,995 $16,155 $28,061 $122,109 
Interest rate on debt maturities— %5.6 %— %— %7.4 %4.1 %4.9 %
Unsecured variable rate debt
Principal— $157,000 $— — — $— $157,000 $157,000 
Variable interest rate on debt maturities6.3 %6.3 %
______________________________ 
(1)    Represents a $125.0 million term loan with a floating interest rate. A $100.0 million portion of the term loan was previously effectively fixed by an interest rate swap that expired on July 21, 2023. The full amount of the term loan is effectively fixed by two interest rate swaps that became effective on July 21, 2023 and expire on the loan’s maturity date of January 10, 2025.

We entered into the interest rate swap arrangements designated and qualifying as cash flow hedges to reduce our exposure to the variability in future cash flows attributable to changes in interest rates. Derivative instruments expose us to credit risk in the event of non-performance by the counterparty under the terms of the interest rate hedge agreement. We believe that we minimize our credit risk on these transactions by dealing with major, creditworthy financial institutions. As part of our ongoing control procedures, we monitor the credit ratings of counterparties and our exposure to any single entity, thus minimizing our credit risk concentration.

The following table sets forth information pertaining to interest rate swap contract in place as of December 31, 2023 and 2022 and its respective fair value (dollars in thousands):
Notional AmountFloating Index RateTermination/Fair Value as of:
Fixed RateEffective DateExpiration DateDecember 31, 2023December 31, 2022
$100,000 1.205%USD-SOFR3/31/20177/21/2023$— $1,998 
75,000 3.677%USD-SOFR7/21/20231/10/2025740 — 
50,000 3.676%USD-SOFR7/21/20231/10/2025494 — 
$1,234 $1,998 

We enter into debt obligations primarily to support general corporate purposes including acquisition of real estate properties, capital improvements and working capital needs.




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ITEM 8:  FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
The financial statements and supplementary data appearing on pages 83 to 118 are incorporated herein by reference.

ITEM 9:  CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

None.

ITEM 9A:  CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

We maintain disclosure controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in our Securities Exchange Act reports is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms, and that such information is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure. In designing and evaluating the disclosure controls and procedures, management recognized that any controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving the desired control objectives, and management necessarily was required to apply its judgment in evaluating the cost-benefit relationship of possible controls and procedures.

We carried out an evaluation, under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of December 31, 2023. Based on the foregoing, our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at a reasonable assurance level.

Internal Control over Financial Reporting

See the Report of Management in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

See the Reports of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

During the three months ended December 31, 2023, there was no change in our internal control over financial reporting that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

ITEM 9B:  OTHER INFORMATION

During the three months ended December 31, 2023, no trustee or officer of Elme Communities adopted or terminated a “Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement” or “non-Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement,” as each term is defined in Item 408(a) of Regulation S-K.

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to our qualification and taxation as a real estate investment trust, a “REIT,” and the acquisition, holding, and disposition of (i) our common shares, preferred shares and depositary shares (together with common shares and preferred shares, the “shares”) as well as our warrants and rights, and (ii) certain debt securities that we may offer (together with the shares, the “securities”). For purposes of this discussion, references to “our Company,” “we” and “us” mean only Elme Communities and not its subsidiaries or affiliates. This summary is based upon the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the “Code”), the Treasury Regulations, rulings and other administrative interpretations and practices of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (including administrative interpretations and practices expressed in private letter rulings, which are binding on the IRS only with respect to the particular taxpayers who requested and received those rulings), and judicial decisions, all as currently in effect, and all of which are subject to differing interpretations or to change, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below. We have not sought and will not seek an advance ruling from the IRS regarding any matter discussed in this section. The summary is also based upon the assumption that we will operate the Company and its subsidiaries and affiliated entities in accordance with their applicable organizational documents. This summary is for general information only, and does not purport to discuss all aspects
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of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to a particular investor in light of its investment or tax circumstances, or to investors subject to special tax rules, including:

tax-exempt organizations, except to the extent discussed below in “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Tax-Exempt Shareholders” and “Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities-Tax-Exempt Holders of Debt Securities,”

broker-dealers,

non-U.S. corporations, non-U.S. partnerships, non-U.S. trusts, non-U.S. estates, or individuals who are not taxed as citizens or residents of the United States, all of which may be referred to collectively as “non-U.S. persons,” except to the extent discussed below in “—Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders” and “—Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities,”

trusts and estates,

regulated investment companies (“RICs”),

REITs, financial institutions,

insurance companies,

subchapter S corporations,

foreign (non-U.S.) governments,

persons subject to the alternative minimum tax provisions of the Code,

persons holding the shares as part of a “hedge,” “straddle,” “conversion,” “synthetic security” or other integrated investment,

persons holding the shares through a partnership or similar pass-through entity,

persons with a “functional currency” other than the U.S. dollar,

persons holding 10% or more (by vote or value) of the beneficial interest in us, except to the extent discussed below,

persons who do not hold the shares as a “capital asset,” within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code,

corporations subject to the provisions of Section 7874 of the Code,

U.S. expatriates,

persons required for U.S. federal income tax purposes to accelerate the recognition of any item of gross income as a result of such income being recognized on an applicable financial statement, or

persons otherwise subject to special tax treatment under the Code.

This summary does not address state, local or non-U.S. tax considerations. This summary also does not consider tax considerations that may be relevant with respect to securities we may issue, or selling security holders may sell, other than our shares and certain debt instruments described below. Each time we or selling security holders sell securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that sale and may add to, modify or update the discussion below, as appropriate.

Each prospective investor is advised to consult his or her tax advisor to determine the impact of his or her personal tax situation on the anticipated tax consequences of the acquisition, ownership and sale of our shares, warrants, rights and/or debt securities. This includes the U.S. federal, state, local, foreign and other tax considerations of the ownership and sale of our shares, warrants, rights and/or debt securities, and the potential changes in applicable tax laws.

Taxation of the Company as a REIT

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We elected to be taxed as a REIT, commencing with our first taxable year ended December 31, 1960. A REIT generally is not subject to U.S. federal income tax on the “REIT taxable income” (generally, taxable income of the REIT subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain) that it distributes to shareholders, provided that the REIT meets the annual REIT distribution requirement and the other requirements for qualification as a REIT under the Code. We believe that we are organized and have operated, and we intend to continue to operate, in a manner so as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the Code. However, qualification and taxation as a REIT depend upon our ability to meet the various qualification tests imposed under the Code, including (through our actual annual (or in some cases quarterly) operating results) requirements relating to income, asset ownership, distribution levels and diversity of share ownership. Given the complex nature of the REIT qualification requirements, the ongoing importance of factual determinations and the possibility of future changes in our circumstances, we cannot provide any assurances that we will be organized or operated in a manner so as to satisfy the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code, or that we will meet such requirements in the future. See “—Failure to Qualify as a REIT.”

The sections of the Code that relate to our qualification and taxation as a REIT are highly technical and complex. This discussion sets forth the material aspects of the Code sections that govern the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a REIT and its shareholders. This summary is qualified in its entirety by the applicable Code provisions, relevant rules and Treasury Regulations, and related administrative and judicial interpretations.

Taxation of REITs in General

For each taxable year in which we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our “REIT taxable income” (generally, taxable income subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid and excluding our net capital gain) that is distributed annually to our shareholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” at the corporate and shareholder levels that generally results from an investment in a non-REIT C corporation. A non-REIT C corporation is a corporation that generally is required to pay tax at the corporate level. Double taxation means taxation once at the corporate level when income is earned and once again at the shareholder level when the income is distributed. In general, the income that we generate is taxed only at the shareholder level upon a distribution of dividends to our shareholders.

U.S. shareholders generally will be subject to taxation on dividends distributed by us (other than designated capital gain dividends and “qualified dividend income”) at rates applicable to ordinary income, instead of at lower capital gain rates. For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, generally, U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. Capital gain dividends and qualified dividend income will continue to be subject to a maximum 20% rate (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”).

Any net operating losses, foreign tax credits and other tax attributes of a REIT generally do not pass through to our shareholders, subject to special rules for certain items such as the net capital gain that we recognize.

Even if we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in the following circumstances:

1.We will be taxed at regular corporate rates on any undistributed “REIT taxable income,” including any undistributed net capital gain. REIT taxable income is the taxable income of the REIT subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid.

2.If we have (1) net income from the sale or other disposition of “foreclosure property” that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, or (2) other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property, such income will be subject to tax at the highest corporate rate.

3.Our net income from “prohibited transactions” will be subject to a 100% penalty tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, other than foreclosure property.

4.If we fail to satisfy either the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as discussed below, but our failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and we nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because we satisfy specified cure provisions, we will be subject to a 100% tax on an amount equal to (a) the greater of (1) the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or (2) the amount by which we fail the 95% gross income test, as the case may be, multiplied by (b) a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

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5.We will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of the required calendar year distribution over the sum of the amounts actually distributed, excess distributions from the preceding tax year and amounts retained for which U.S. federal income tax was paid. The required distribution for each calendar year is equal to the sum of:

85% of our REIT ordinary income for the year;
95% of our REIT capital gain net income for the year, other than capital gains we elect to retain and pay tax on as described below; and
any undistributed taxable income from prior taxable years.

6.We will be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain rental income we receive when a taxable REIT subsidiary provides services to our tenants, on certain expenses deducted by a taxable REIT subsidiary on payments made to us and on income for services rendered to us by a taxable REIT subsidiary, if the arrangements among us, our tenants, and our taxable REIT subsidiary do not reflect arm’s-length terms.

7.If we acquire any assets from a non-REIT C corporation in a carry-over basis transaction, we would be liable for corporate income tax, at the highest applicable corporate rate, on the “built-in gain” inherent in those assets if we disposed of those assets within five years after they were acquired. To the extent that assets are transferred to us in a carry-over basis transaction by a partnership in which a non-REIT C corporation owns an interest, we will be subject to this tax in proportion to the non-REIT C corporation’s interest in the partnership. Built-in gain is the amount by which an asset’s fair market value exceeds its adjusted tax basis at the time we acquire the asset. The results described in this paragraph assume that the non-REIT C corporation or partnership transferor will not elect, in lieu of this treatment, to be subject to an immediate tax when the asset is acquired by us.

8.We may elect to retain and pay U.S. federal income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, a U.S. shareholder would include its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the shareholder) in its income, would be deemed to have paid the tax we paid on such gain, and would be allowed a credit for its proportionate share of the tax deemed to have been paid, and an adjustment would be made to increase the basis of the U.S. shareholder in our common shares.

9.If we violate an asset test (other than certain de minimis violations) or other requirements applicable to REITs, as described below, but our failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and we nevertheless maintain our REIT qualification because we satisfy specified cure provisions, we will be subject to a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the amount determined by multiplying the net income generated by such non-qualifying assets by the highest rate of tax applicable to non-REIT C corporations during periods when owning such assets would have caused us to fail the relevant asset test.

10.If we fail to satisfy a requirement under the Code and the failure would result in the loss of our REIT qualification, other than a failure to satisfy a gross income test or an asset test, as described above, but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because the requirements of certain relief provisions are satisfied, we will be subject to a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure.

11.If we fail to comply with the requirement to send annual letters to our shareholders requesting information regarding the actual ownership of our shares and the failure was not due to reasonable cause or was due to willful neglect, we will be subject to a $25,000 penalty or, if the failure is intentional, a $50,000 penalty.

12.The earnings of any subsidiaries that are non-REIT C corporations, including any taxable REIT subsidiaries, are subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax.

Notwithstanding our qualification as a REIT, we and our subsidiaries may be subject to a variety of taxes, including payroll taxes and state, local, and foreign income, property and other taxes on our assets, operations and/or net worth. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

Requirements for Qualification as a REIT

The Code defines a “REIT” as a corporation, trust or association:

(1)that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

(2)that issues transferable shares or transferable certificates to evidence its beneficial ownership;
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(3)that would be taxable as a domestic corporation, but for Sections 856 through 859 of the Code;

(4)that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company within the meaning of certain provisions of the Code;

(5)that is beneficially owned by 100 or more persons;

(6)not more than 50% in value of the outstanding shares or other beneficial interest of which is owned, actually or constructively, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities and as determined by applying certain attribution rules) during the last half of each taxable year;

(7)that makes an election to be a REIT for the current taxable year, or has made such an election for a previous taxable year that has not been revoked or terminated, and that satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements established by the IRS that must be met to elect and maintain REIT status;

(8)that uses a calendar year for U.S. federal income tax purposes;

(9)that meets other applicable tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets and the amount of its distributions; and

(10)that has no earnings and profits from any non-REIT taxable year at the close of any taxable year.

The Code provides that conditions (1), (2), (3) and (4) above must be met during the entire taxable year and condition (5) above must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than 12 months. Conditions (5) and (6) do not apply until after the first taxable year for which an election is made to be taxed as a REIT. Condition (6) must be met during the last half of each taxable year. For purposes of determining share ownership under condition (6) above, a supplemental unemployment compensation benefits plan, a private foundation or a portion of a trust permanently set aside or used exclusively for charitable purposes generally is considered an individual. However, a trust that is a qualified trust under Code Section 401(a) generally is not considered an individual, and beneficiaries of a qualified trust are treated as holding shares of a REIT in proportion to their actuarial interests in the trust for purposes of condition (6) above.

We believe that we have been organized, have operated and have issued sufficient shares of beneficial interest with sufficient diversity of ownership to allow us to satisfy the above conditions. In addition, our declaration of trust contains restrictions regarding the transfer of shares of beneficial interest that are intended to assist us in continuing to satisfy the share ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above. If we fail to satisfy these share ownership requirements, we will fail to qualify as a REIT unless we qualify for certain relief provisions described below under “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT-Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause.”

To monitor our compliance with condition (6) above, we are generally required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our shares. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of specified percentages of our shares pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the shares (i.e., the persons required to include in gross income the dividends paid by us). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. A shareholder that fails or refuses to comply with the demand is required by Treasury Regulations to submit a statement with its tax return disclosing the actual ownership of our shares and other information. If we comply with the record-keeping requirement and we do not know or, exercising reasonable diligence, would not have known of our failure to meet condition (6) above, then we will be treated as having met condition (6) above.

To qualify as a REIT, we cannot have at the end of any taxable year any undistributed earnings and profits that are attributable to a non-REIT taxable year. We elected to be taxed as a REIT beginning with our first taxable year in 1960 and we have not succeeded to any earnings and profits of a regular corporation. Therefore, we do not believe we have had any undistributed non-REIT earnings and profits.

Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause

The Code provides relief from violations of the REIT gross income requirements, as described below under “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” in cases where a violation is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, and other requirements are met, including the payment of a penalty tax that is based upon the magnitude of the violation. In addition, certain provisions of the Code extend similar relief in the case of certain violations of the REIT asset
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requirements (see “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” below) and other REIT requirements, again provided that the violation is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, and other conditions are met, including the payment of a penalty tax. If we did not have reasonable cause for a failure, we would fail to qualify as a REIT. Whether we would have reasonable cause for any such failure cannot be known with certainty, because the determination of whether reasonable cause exists depends on the facts and circumstances at the time and we cannot provide any assurance that we in fact would have reasonable cause for a particular failure or that the IRS would not successfully challenge our view that a failure was due to reasonable cause. Moreover, we may be unable to actually rectify a failure and restore asset test compliance within the required timeframe due to the inability to transfer or otherwise dispose of assets, including as a result of restrictions on transfer imposed by our lenders or undertakings with our co-investors and/or the inability to acquire additional qualifying assets due to transaction risks, access to additional capital or other considerations. If we fail to satisfy any of the various REIT requirements, there can be no assurance that these relief provisions would be available to enable us to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and, if such relief provisions are available, the amount of any resultant penalty tax could be substantial.

Effect of Subsidiary Entities

Ownership of Partnership Interests. In the case of a REIT that is a partner in an entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, Treasury Regulations provide that the REIT is deemed to own its proportionate share of the partnership’s assets, and to earn its proportionate share of the partnership’s income, for purposes of the asset and gross income tests applicable to REITs, as described below. A REIT’s proportionate share of a partnership’s assets and income is based on the REIT’s pro rata share of the capital interests in the partnership. The Company’s capital interest in a partnership is calculated based on either the Company’s percentage ownership of the capital of the partnership or based on the allocations provided in the applicable partnership or limited liability company operating agreement, using the more conservative calculation. However, solely for purposes of the 10% value test, described below, the determination of a REIT’s interest in the partnership’s assets is based on the REIT’s proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by the partnership. In addition, the assets and gross income of the partnership are deemed to retain the same character in the hands of the REIT. Thus, our proportionate share of the assets and items of income of any of our subsidiary partnerships, which include the assets, liabilities, and items of income of any partnership in which our subsidiary partnership holds an interest, are treated as our assets and items of income for purposes of applying the REIT requirements.

Any investment in partnerships involves special tax considerations, including the possibility of a challenge by the IRS of the status of any subsidiary partnership as a partnership, as opposed to an association taxable as a corporation, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If any of these entities were treated as an association for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would be taxable as a corporation and therefore could be subject to an entity-level tax on its income. In such a situation, the character of our assets and items of gross income would change and could preclude us from satisfying the REIT asset tests or the gross income tests as discussed in “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” and in turn could prevent us from qualifying as a REIT, unless we are eligible for relief from the violation pursuant to relief provisions. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause” above, and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT— Failure to Qualify as a REIT,” below, for discussion of the effect of failure to satisfy the REIT tests for a taxable year, and of the relief provisions. In addition, any change in the status of any subsidiary partnership for tax purposes might be treated as a taxable event, in which case we could have taxable income that is subject to the REIT distribution requirements without receiving any cash.

Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, liability is imposed on the partnership (rather than its partners) for adjustments to reported partnership taxable income resulting from audits or other tax proceedings. The liability can include an imputed underpayment of tax, calculated by using the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate, as well as interest and penalties on such imputed underpayment of tax. Using certain rules, partnerships may be able to transfer these liabilities to their partners. In
the event any adjustments are imposed by the IRS on the taxable income reported by any subsidiary partnerships, we intend to utilize certain rules to the extent possible to allow us to transfer any liability with respect to such adjustments to the partners of the subsidiary partnerships who should properly bear such liability. However, there is no assurance that we will qualify under those rules or that we will have the authority to use those rules under the operating agreements for certain of our subsidiary partnerships.

We may from time to time be a limited partner or non-managing member in some of our partnerships and limited liability companies. If a partnership or limited liability company in which we own an interest takes or expects to take actions that could jeopardize our status as a REIT or requires us to pay tax, we may be forced to dispose of our interest in such entity. In addition, it is possible that a partnership or limited liability company could take an action which could cause us to fail a gross income or asset test, and that we would not become aware of such action in time to dispose of our interest in the partnership or limited liability company or take other corrective action on a timely basis. In that case, we could fail to qualify as a REIT unless we
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were entitled to relief, as described below.

Ownership of Disregarded Subsidiaries. If a REIT owns a corporate subsidiary that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary,” or QRS, that subsidiary is generally disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and all assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit of the subsidiary are treated as assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit of the REIT itself, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs, as described below. A QRS is any corporation, other than a taxable REIT subsidiary, that is directly or indirectly wholly owned by a REIT. Other entities that are wholly owned by us, including single member limited liability companies that have not elected to be taxed as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, are also generally disregarded as separate entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests. Disregarded subsidiaries, along with any partnerships in which we hold an equity interest, are sometimes referred to herein as “pass-through subsidiaries.”

In the event that a disregarded subsidiary ceases to be wholly owned by us (for example, if any equity interest in the subsidiary is acquired by a person other than us or another disregarded subsidiary of ours) the subsidiary’s separate existence would no longer be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, the subsidiary would have multiple owners and would be treated as either a partnership or a taxable corporation. Such an event could, depending on the circumstances, adversely affect our ability to satisfy the various asset and gross income requirements applicable to REITs, including the requirement that REITs generally may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the securities of another corporation unless it is a taxable REIT subsidiary or a QRS. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests.”

Ownership of Interests in Taxable REIT Subsidiaries. Our taxable REIT subsidiary (and any taxable REIT subsidiary we may form in the future) is a corporation other than a REIT in which we directly or indirectly hold stock, and that has made a joint election with us to be treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary under Section 856(l) of the Code. A taxable REIT subsidiary also includes any corporation other than a REIT in which a taxable REIT subsidiary of ours owns, directly or indirectly, securities (other than certain “straight debt” securities), which represent more than 35% of the total voting power or value of the outstanding securities of such corporation. Other than some activities relating to lodging and health care facilities, a taxable REIT subsidiary may generally engage in any business, including the provision of customary or non-customary services to our tenants without causing us to receive impermissible tenant service income under the REIT gross income tests. A taxable REIT subsidiary is required to pay regular U.S. federal income tax, and state and local income tax where applicable, as a regular corporation. In addition, a taxable REIT subsidiary may be prevented from deducting interest on debt, including debt funded directly or indirectly by us, if certain tests are not satisfied. If dividends are paid to us by our taxable REIT subsidiary, then a portion of the dividends we distribute to shareholders who are taxed at individual rates will generally be eligible for taxation at lower capital gains rates, rather than at ordinary income rates. See “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders-Qualified Dividend Income.”

Generally, a taxable REIT subsidiary can perform impermissible tenant services without causing us to receive impermissible tenant services income under the REIT income tests. However, several provisions applicable to the arrangements between us and our taxable REIT subsidiary ensure that such taxable REIT subsidiary will be subject to an appropriate level of U.S. federal income taxation. For example, taxable REIT subsidiaries are limited in their ability to deduct interest payments in excess of a certain amount, including interest payments made directly or indirectly to us, as described below in “—Annual Distribution Requirements.” In addition, we will be obligated to pay a 100% penalty tax on some payments we receive or on certain expenses deducted by our taxable REIT subsidiary, and on income earned by our taxable REIT subsidiary for services provided to, or on behalf of, us, if the economic arrangements between us, our tenants and such taxable REIT subsidiary are not comparable to similar arrangements among unrelated parties. Our taxable REIT subsidiary, and any future taxable REIT subsidiaries acquired by us, may make interest and other payments to us and to third parties in connection with activities related to our properties. There can be no assurance that our taxable REIT subsidiary will not be limited in its ability to deduct interest payments made to us. In addition, there can be no assurance that the IRS might not seek to impose the 100% excise tax on a portion of payments received by us from, or expenses deducted by, or service income imputed to, our taxable REIT subsidiary.

We currently own one subsidiary that has elected to be treated as taxable REIT subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our taxable REIT subsidiary is taxable as a regular corporation and has elected, together with us, to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiary. We may elect, together with other corporations in which we may own directly or indirectly stock, for those corporations to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiaries.

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Gross Income Tests

To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income tests that are applied on an annual basis. First, in each taxable year, at least 75% of our gross income (excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, certain hedging transactions, as described below, and certain foreign currency transactions) must be derived from investments relating to real property or mortgages on real property, generally including:

“rents from real property”;

dividends or other distributions on, and gain from the sale of, shares in other REITs;

gain from the sale of real property or mortgages on real property, in either case, not held for sale to customers;

interest income derived from mortgage loans secured by real property; and

income attributable to temporary investments of new capital in stocks and debt instruments during the one-year period following our receipt of new capital that we raise through equity offerings or issuance of debt obligations with at least a five-year term.

Second, at least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year (excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, certain hedging transactions, as described below, and certain foreign currency transactions) must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as other income sources generally including (a) other dividends, (b) interest (including interest income from debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs), and (c) gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities (including gain from the sale or other disposition of debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs), in either case, not held for sale to customers.

Gross income from certain hedging transactions is excluded from gross income for purposes of the 95% gross income requirement. Similarly, gross income from certain hedging transactions is excluded from gross income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Income from, and gain from the termination of, certain hedging transactions, where the property or indebtedness that was the subject of the prior hedging transaction was extinguished or disposed of, also will be excluded from gross income for purposes of either the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests—Income from Hedging Transactions.”

Rents from Real Property. Rents we receive will qualify as “rents from real property” for the purpose of satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above only if several conditions are met. These conditions relate to the identity of the tenant, the computation of the rent payable, and the nature of the property lease.

First, the amount of rent must not be based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount we receive or accrue generally will not be excluded from the term “rents from real property” solely by reason of being based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales;

Second, we, or an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of our shares, must not actually or constructively own 10% or more of the interests in the tenant, or, if the tenant is a corporation, 10% or more of the voting power or value of all classes of stock of the tenant. Rents received from such tenant that is a taxable REIT subsidiary, however, will not be excluded from the definition of “rents from real property” as a result of this condition if either (i) at least 90% of the space at the property to which the rents relate is leased to third parties, and the rents paid by the taxable REIT subsidiary are comparable to rents paid by our other tenants for comparable space or (ii) the property is a qualified lodging facility or a qualified health care property and such property is operated on behalf of the taxable REIT subsidiary by a person who is an “eligible independent contractor” (as described below) and certain other requirements are met;

Third, rent attributable to personal property, leased in connection with a lease of real property, must not be greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease. If this requirement is not met, then the portion of rent attributable to personal property will not qualify as “rents from real property”; and

Fourth, for rents to qualify as rents from real property for the purpose of satisfying the gross income tests, we generally must not operate or manage the property or furnish or render services to the tenants of such property, other than through an “independent contractor” who is adequately compensated and from whom we derive no revenue or through a taxable REIT subsidiary. To the extent that impermissible services are provided by an independent contractor, the
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cost of the services generally must be borne by the independent contractor. We anticipate that any services we provide directly to tenants will be “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and not otherwise considered to be provided for the tenants’ convenience. We may provide a minimal amount of “non-customary” services to tenants of our properties, other than through an independent contractor or a taxable REIT subsidiary, but we intend that our income from these services will not exceed 1% of our total gross income from the property. If the impermissible tenant services income exceeds 1% of our total income from a property, then all of the income from that property will fail to qualify as rents from real property. If the total amount of impermissible tenant services income does not exceed 1% of our total income from the property, the services will not “taint” the other income from the property (that is, it will not cause the rent paid by tenants of that property to fail to qualify as rents from real property), but the impermissible tenant services income will not qualify as rents from real property. We will be deemed to have received income from the provision of impermissible services in an amount equal to at least 150% of our direct cost of providing the service.

We monitor (and intend to continue to monitor) the activities provided at, and the non-qualifying income arising from, our properties and believe that we have not provided services at levels that will cause us to fail to meet the income tests. We provide services and may provide access to third-party service providers at some or all of our properties. Based upon our experience in the markets where the properties are located, we believe that all access to service providers and services provided to tenants by us (other than through a qualified independent contractor or a taxable REIT subsidiary) either are usually or customarily rendered in connection with the rental of real property and not otherwise considered rendered to the occupant, or, if considered impermissible services, will not result in an amount of impermissible tenant service income that will cause us to fail to meet the income test requirements. However, we cannot provide any assurance that the IRS will agree with these positions.

Income we receive that is attributable to the rental of parking spaces at the properties will constitute rents from real property for purposes of the REIT gross income tests if the services provided with respect to the parking facilities are performed by independent contractors from whom we derive no income, either directly or indirectly, or by a taxable REIT subsidiary. We believe that the income we receive that is attributable to parking facilities will meet these tests and, accordingly, will constitute rents from real property for purposes of the REIT gross income tests.

Interest Income. “Interest” generally will be non-qualifying income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests if it depends in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales may still qualify under the gross income tests. We do not expect to derive significant amounts of interest that will not qualify under the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

Dividend Income. Our share of any dividends received from any taxable REIT subsidiaries will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. We do not anticipate that we will receive sufficient dividends from any taxable REIT subsidiaries to cause us to exceed the limit on non-qualifying income under the 75% gross income test. Dividends that we receive from other qualifying REITs will qualify for purposes of both REIT income tests.

Income from Hedging Transactions. From time to time we may enter into hedging transactions with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Any such hedging transactions could take a variety of forms, including the use of derivative instruments such as interest rate swap or cap agreements, option agreements, and futures or forward contracts. Income of a REIT, including income from a pass-through subsidiary, arising from “clearly identified” hedging transactions that are entered into to manage the risk of interest rate or price changes with respect to borrowings, including gain from the disposition of such hedging transactions, to the extent the hedging transactions hedge indebtedness incurred, or to be incurred, by the REIT to acquire or carry real estate assets (each such hedge, a “Borrowings Hedge”), will not be treated as gross income for purposes of either the 95% gross income test or the 75% gross income test. Income of a REIT arising from hedging transactions that are entered into to manage the risk of currency fluctuations with respect to our investments (each such hedge, a “Currency Hedge”) will not be treated as gross income for purposes of either the 95% gross income test or the 75% gross income test provided that the transaction is “clearly identified.” This exclusion from the 95% and 75% gross income tests also will apply if we previously entered into a Borrowings Hedge or a Currency Hedge, a portion of the hedged indebtedness or property is disposed of, and in connection with such extinguishment or disposition we enter into a new “clearly identified” hedging transaction to offset the prior hedging position. In general, for a hedging transaction to be “clearly identified,” (1) it must be identified as a hedging transaction before the end of the day on which it is acquired, originated, or entered into; and (2) the items of risks being hedged must be identified “substantially contemporaneously” with entering into the hedging transaction (generally not more than 35 days after entering into the hedging transaction). To the extent that we hedge with other types of financial instruments or in other situations, the resultant income will be treated as income that does not qualify under the 95% or 75% gross income tests unless the hedge meets certain requirements, and we elect to integrate it with a specified asset and to treat the integrated position as a synthetic debt instrument. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT, but there can be no assurance we will be successful in this regard.
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Income from Forward Sale Agreements. We may enter into forward sale agreements from time to time and, subject to certain conditions, we have the right to elect physical, cash or net share settlement under these agreements at any time and from time to time, in part or in full. In the event that we elect to settle a forward sale agreement for cash and the settlement price is below the forward sale price, we would be entitled to receive a cash payment from the applicable forward purchaser(s). Under Section 1032 of the Code, generally, no gains and losses are recognized by a corporation in dealing in its own shares, including pursuant to a “securities futures contract,” as defined in the Code by reference to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although we believe that any amount received by us in exchange for our common shares would qualify for the exemption under Section 1032 of the Code, because it is not entirely clear whether a forward sale agreement qualifies as a “securities futures contract,” the U.S. federal income tax treatment of any cash settlement payment we receive is uncertain. In the event that we recognize a significant gain from the cash settlement of a forward sale agreement, we might not be able to satisfy the gross income requirements applicable to REITs under the Code. If we were to fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for such year if we were entitled to relief under certain provisions of the Code, as described below. If these relief provisions were inapplicable, we would not qualify to be taxed as a REIT.

Income from Prohibited Transactions. Any gain that we realize on the sale of any property held as inventory or otherwise held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, either directly or through pass-through subsidiaries, will be treated as income from a prohibited transaction that is subject to a 100% penalty tax. Under existing law, whether property is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business is a question of fact that depends on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular transaction. However, we will not be treated as a dealer in real property for purposes of the 100% tax with respect to a real estate asset that we sell if (i) we have held the property for at least two years for the production of rental income prior to the sale, (ii) capitalized expenditures on the property in the two years preceding the sale are less than 30% of the net selling price of the property, and (iii) we either (a) have seven or fewer sales of property (excluding certain property obtained through foreclosure) for the year of sale; or (b) the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the year is 10% or less of the aggregate adjusted basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year; or (c) the fair market value of property sold during the year is 10% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year; or (d) the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the year is 20% or less of the aggregate adjusted basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year and the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the 3-year period ending with the year of sale is 10% or less of the aggregate tax basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of each of the 3 taxable years ending with the year of sale; or (e) the fair market value of property sold during the year is 20% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year and the fair market value of property sold during the 3-year period ending with the year of sale is 10% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of each of the 3 taxable years ending with the year of sale. If we rely on clauses (b), (c), (d), or (e) in the preceding sentence, substantially all of the marketing and development expenditures with respect to the property sold must be made through an independent contractor from whom we derive no income or, a taxable REIT subsidiary. The sale of more than one property to one buyer as part of one transaction constitutes one sale for purposes of this “safe harbor.” We intend to hold our properties for investment with a view to long-term appreciation, to engage in the business of acquiring, developing and owning our properties and to make occasional sales of the properties as are consistent with our investment objectives. However, the IRS may successfully contend that some or all of the sales made by us or subsidiary partnerships or limited liability companies are prohibited transactions. In that case, we would be required to pay the 100% penalty tax on our allocable share of the gains resulting from any such sales.

Income from Foreclosure Property. We generally will be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate (currently 21%) on any net income from foreclosure property, including any gain from the disposition of the foreclosure property, other than income that constitutes qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Foreclosure property is real property and any personal property incident to such real property (1) that we acquire as the result of having bid on the property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced the property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after a default (or upon imminent default) on a lease of the property or a mortgage loan held by us and secured by the property, (2) for which we acquired the related loan or lease at a time when default was not imminent or anticipated, and (3) with respect to which we made a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property. Any gain from the sale of property for which a foreclosure property election has been made and remains in place generally will not be subject to the 100% tax on gains from prohibited transactions described above, even if the property would otherwise constitute inventory or dealer property. To the extent that we receive any income from foreclosure property that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we intend to make an election to treat the related property as foreclosure property if the election is available (which may not be the case with respect to any acquired “distressed loans”).

Failure to Satisfy the Gross Income Tests. If we fail to satisfy one or both of the 75% or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for that year if we are entitled to relief under the Code. These relief provisions will be generally available if (1) our failure to meet these tests was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and (2)
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following our identification of the failure to meet the 75% and/or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, we file a schedule with the IRS setting forth a description of each item of our gross income that satisfies the gross income tests for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test for such taxable year in accordance with Treasury Regulations. It is not possible, however, to state whether in all circumstances we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances, we will fail to qualify as a REIT. As discussed above, under “—Taxation of the Company as a REIT—General,” even if these relief provisions apply, a tax would be imposed based on the amount of non-qualifying income. We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the income tests applicable to REITs.

Redetermined Amounts. Any redetermined rents, redetermined deductions, excess interest, or redetermined taxable REIT subsidiary service income we generate will be subject to a 100% penalty tax. In general, redetermined rents are rents from real property that are overstated as a result of services furnished by one of our taxable REIT subsidiaries to any of our tenants, redetermined deductions and excess interest represent amounts that are deducted by a taxable REIT subsidiary for amounts paid to us that are in excess of the amounts that would have been deducted based on arm’s-length negotiations, and redetermined taxable REIT subsidiary service income is gross income (less deductions allocable thereto) of a taxable REIT subsidiary attributable to services provided to, or on behalf of, us that is less than the amounts that would have been paid by us to the taxable REIT subsidiary if based on arm’s-length negotiations. Rents we receive will not constitute redetermined rents if they qualify for the safe harbor provisions contained in the Code. Safe harbor provisions are provided where:

amounts are excluded from the definition of impermissible tenant service income as a result of satisfying the 1% de minimis exception;

a taxable REIT subsidiary renders a significant amount of similar services to unrelated parties and the charges for such services are substantially comparable;

rents paid to us by tenants leasing at least 25% of the net leasable space of the REIT’s property who are not receiving services from the taxable REIT subsidiary are substantially comparable to the rents paid by the REIT’s tenants leasing comparable space who are receiving such services from the taxable REIT subsidiary and the charge for the service is separately stated; or

the taxable REIT subsidiary’s gross income from the service is not less than 150% of the taxable REIT subsidiary’s direct cost of furnishing the service.

While we anticipate that any fees paid to a taxable REIT subsidiary for tenant services will reflect arm’s-length rates, a taxable REIT subsidiary may under certain circumstances provide tenant services which do not satisfy any of the safe-harbor provisions described above. Nevertheless, these determinations are inherently factual, and the IRS has broad discretion to assert that amounts paid between related parties should be reallocated to clearly reflect their respective incomes. If the IRS successfully made such an assertion, we would be required to pay a 100% penalty tax on the redetermined rent, redetermined deductions or excess interest, as applicable.

Asset Tests

At the close of each calendar quarter, we must satisfy the following tests relating to the nature and diversification of our assets. For purposes of the asset tests, a REIT is not treated as owning the stock of a qualified REIT subsidiary or an equity interest in any entity treated as a partnership otherwise disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, a REIT is treated as owning its proportionate share of the assets held by such entity.

At least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of “real estate assets,” cash, cash items, and U.S. government securities. For purposes of this test, real estate assets include interests in real property, such as land and buildings, leasehold interests in real property, stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs and debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs, some types of mortgage-backed securities, mortgage loans, personal property leased in connection with real property to the extent that rents attributable to such personal property are treated as “rents from real property”, and stock or debt instruments held for less than one year purchased with an offering of our shares or long term debt. Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.

Not more than 25% of our total assets may be represented by securities other than those described in the first bullet above.

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Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, the value of any one issuer’s securities owned by us may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets.

Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, we may not own more than 10% of any one issuer’s outstanding voting securities.

Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, and certain types of indebtedness that are not treated as securities for purposes of this test, as discussed below, we may not own more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer.

Not more than 20% of the value of our total assets may be represented by the securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Not more than 25% of our total assets may be represented by debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs that are “nonqualified” debt instruments (e.g., not secured by real property or interests in real property).

The 10% value test does not apply to certain “straight debt” and other excluded securities, as described in the Code, including (1) loans to individuals or estates; (2) obligations to pay rent from real property; (3) rental agreements described in Section 467 of the Code; (4) any security issued by other REITs; (5) certain securities issued by a state, the District of Columbia, a foreign government, or a political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and (6) any other arrangement as determined by the IRS. In addition, (1) a REIT’s interest as a partner in a partnership is not considered a security for purposes of the 10% value test; (2) any debt instrument issued by a partnership (other than straight debt or other excluded security) will not be considered a security issued by the partnership if at least 75% of the partnership’s gross income is derived from sources that would qualify for the 75% REIT gross income test; and (3) any debt instrument issued by a partnership (other than straight debt or other excluded security) will not be considered a security issued by a partnership to the extent of the REIT’s interest as a partner in the partnership.

For purposes of the 10% value test, debt will meet the “straight debt” safe harbor if (1) neither us, nor any of our controlled taxable REIT subsidiaries (i.e., taxable REIT subsidiaries more than 50% of the vote or value of the outstanding stock of which is directly or indirectly owned by us), own any securities not described in the preceding paragraph that have an aggregate value greater than 1% of the issuer’s outstanding securities, as calculated under the Code, (2) the debt is a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a sum certain in money, (3) the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and (4) the interest rate and the interest payment dates of the debt are not contingent on the profits, the borrower’s discretion or similar factors. However, contingencies regarding time of payment and interest are permissible for purposes of qualifying as a straight debt security if either (1) such contingency does not have the effect of changing the effective yield of maturity, as determined under the Code, other than a change in the annual yield to maturity that does not exceed the greater of (i) 5% of the annual yield to maturity or (ii) 0.25%, or (2) neither the aggregate issue price nor the aggregate face amount of the issuer’s debt instruments held by the REIT exceeds $1,000,000 and not more than 12 months of unaccrued interest can be required to be prepaid thereunder. In addition, debt will not be disqualified from being treated as “straight debt” solely because the time or amount of payment is subject to a contingency upon a default or the exercise of a prepayment right by the issuer of the debt, provided that such contingency is consistent with customary commercial practice.

We own one subsidiary that has elected to be treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our taxable REIT subsidiary is taxable as a non-REIT C corporation and has elected, together with us, to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiary. So long as our taxable REIT subsidiary qualifies as such, we will not be subject to the 5% asset test, 10% voting securities limitation or 10% value limitation with respect to our ownership interest in the taxable REIT subsidiary. We may acquire securities in other taxable REIT subsidiaries in the future. We believe that the aggregate value of our interests in our taxable REIT subsidiary does not exceed, and believe that in the future it will not exceed, 20% of the aggregate value of our gross assets. To the extent that we own an interest in an issuer that does not qualify as a REIT, a qualified REIT subsidiary, or a taxable REIT subsidiary, we believe that our pro rata share of the value of the securities, including debt, of any such issuer does not exceed 5% of the total value of our assets. Moreover, with respect to each issuer in which we own an interest that does not qualify as a qualified REIT subsidiary or a taxable REIT subsidiary, we believe that our ownership of the securities of any such issuer complies with the 10% voting securities limitation and 10% value limitation.

No independent appraisals have been obtained to support these conclusions. In this regard, however, we cannot provide any assurance that the IRS will agree with our determinations.
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Failure to Satisfy the Asset Tests. The asset tests must be satisfied not only on the last day of the calendar quarter in which we, directly or through pass-through subsidiaries, acquire securities in the applicable issuer, but also on the last day of the calendar quarter in which we increase our ownership of securities of such issuer, including as a result of increasing our interest in pass-through subsidiaries. After initially meeting the asset tests at the close of any quarter, we will not lose our status as a REIT for failure to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a later quarter solely by reason of changes in the relative values of our assets (including a discrepancy caused solely by the change in the foreign currency exchange rate used to value a foreign asset). If failure to satisfy the asset tests results from an acquisition of securities or other property during a quarter, we can cure this failure by disposing of sufficient non-qualifying assets within 30 days after the close of that quarter. We intend to continue to maintain adequate records of the value of our assets to ensure compliance with the asset tests and to take any available action within 30 days after the close of any quarter as may be required to cure any noncompliance with the asset tests. Although we plan to take steps to ensure that we satisfy such tests for any quarter with respect to which testing is to occur, there can be no assurance that such steps will always be successful. If we fail to timely cure any noncompliance with the asset tests, we will cease to qualify as a REIT, unless we satisfy certain relief provisions.

The failure to satisfy the 5% asset test, or the 10% vote or value asset tests can be remedied even after the 30-day cure period under certain circumstances. Specifically, if we fail these asset tests at the end of any quarter and such failure is not cured within 30 days thereafter, we may dispose of sufficient assets (generally within six months after the last day of the quarter in which our identification of the failure to satisfy these asset tests occurred) to cure such a violation that does not exceed the lesser of 1% of our assets at the end of the relevant quarter or $10,000,000. If we fail any of the other asset tests or our failure of the 5% and 10% asset tests is in excess of the de minimis amount described above, as long as such failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, we are permitted to avoid disqualification as a REIT, after the 30-day cure period, by taking steps including the disposing of sufficient assets to meet the asset test (generally within six months after the last day of the quarter in which our identification of the failure to satisfy the REIT asset test occurred), paying a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the highest corporate income tax rate of the net income generated by the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset test, and filing in accordance with applicable Treasury Regulations a schedule with the IRS that describes the assets that caused us to fail to satisfy the asset test(s). We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the asset tests applicable to REITs. In certain circumstances, utilization of such provisions could result in us being required to pay an excise or penalty tax, which could be significant in amount.

Annual Distribution Requirements

To qualify as a REIT, we are required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our shareholders each year in an amount at least equal to:

the sum of: (1) 90% of our “REIT taxable income,” computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gain; and (2) 90% of our after tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property; minus

the excess of the sum of specified items of non-cash income over 5% of our REIT taxable income, computed without regard to our net capital gain and the deduction for dividends paid.

For purposes of this test, non-cash income means income attributable to leveled stepped rents, original issue discount included in our taxable income without the receipt of a corresponding payment, cancellation of indebtedness or income attributable to a like-kind exchange that is later determined to be taxable.

We generally must make dividend distributions in the taxable year to which they relate. Dividend distributions may be made in the following year in two circumstances. First, if we declare a dividend in October, November, or December of any year with a record date in one of these months and pay the dividend on or before January 31 of the following year. Such distributions are treated as both paid by us and received by each shareholder on December 31 of the year in which they are declared. Second, distributions may be made in the following year if they are declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if made with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration. These distributions are taxable to our shareholders in the year in which paid, even though the distributions relate to our prior taxable year for purposes of the 90% distribution requirement.

To the extent that we do not distribute all of our net capital gain or distribute at least 90%, but less than 100%, of our “REIT taxable income,” as adjusted, we will be required to pay tax on that amount at regular corporate tax rates. We intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy these annual distribution requirements. In certain circumstances we may elect to retain, rather than distribute, our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains. In this case, we could elect for our shareholders to include their proportionate share of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding
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credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our shareholders would then increase their adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between (1) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they included in their taxable income, minus (2) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income.

To the extent that in the future we may have available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Our deduction for any net operating loss carryforwards arising from losses we sustain in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 is limited to 80% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), and any unused portion of such losses may be carried forward indefinitely.

If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (a) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (b) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year, and (c) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we would be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of (x) the amounts actually distributed, and (y) the amounts of income we retained and on which we paid corporate income tax.

We expect that our REIT taxable income (determined before our deduction for dividends paid) will be less than our cash flow because of depreciation and other non-cash charges included in computing REIT taxable income. Accordingly, we anticipate that we will generally have sufficient cash or liquid assets to enable us to satisfy the distribution requirements described above. However, from time to time, we may not have sufficient cash or other liquid assets to meet these distribution requirements due to timing differences between the actual receipt of income and actual payment of deductible expenses, and the inclusion of income and deduction of expenses in arriving at our taxable income.

The Code limits the deductibility of net interest expense paid or accrued on debt properly allocable to a trade or business to 30% of “adjusted taxable income,” subject to certain exceptions. Any deduction in excess of the limitation is carried forward and may be used in a subsequent year, subject to the 30% limitation. Adjusted taxable income is determined without regard to certain deductions, including those for net interest expense and net operating loss. However, for the 2021 taxable year, we made a timely election (which is irrevocable), such that the 30% limitation does not apply. This election is available for a trade or business involving real property development, redevelopment, construction, reconstruction, rental, operation, acquisition, conversion, disposition, management, leasing or brokerage, within the meaning of Section 469(c)(7)(C) of the Code. As a result of this election, depreciable real property (including certain improvements) held by the relevant trade or business must be depreciated under the alternative depreciation system under the Code, which is generally less favorable than the generally applicable system of depreciation under the Code. If it was subsequently determined that this election was not in fact available with respect to all or certain of our business activities, this interest deduction limitation could result in us having more REIT taxable income and thus increase the amount of distributions we must make to comply with the REIT requirements and avoid incurring corporate level tax. Similarly, the limitation could cause our taxable REIT subsidiary (or any taxable REIT subsidiary we have in the future) to have greater taxable income and thus potentially greater corporate tax liability.

Furthermore, under Section 451 of the Code, subject to certain exceptions, we must accrue income for U.S. federal income tax purposes no later than when such income is taken into account as revenue in our financial statements, which could create additional differences between REIT taxable income and the receipt of cash attributable to such income. In addition, Section 162(m) of the Code places a per-employee limit of $1 million on the amount of compensation that a publicly held corporation may deduct in any one year with respect to its chief executive officer and certain other highly compensated executive officers. If these timing differences occur, we may need to arrange for short-term, or possibly long-term, borrowings or need to pay dividends in the form of taxable stock dividends in order to meet the distribution requirements.

We may be able to rectify a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to our shareholders in a later year, which may be included in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Thus, we may be able to avoid being taxed on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends. However, we will be required to pay interest to the IRS based upon the amount of any deduction claimed for deficiency dividends.

Record-Keeping Requirements

We are required to comply with applicable record-keeping requirements. Failure to comply could result in monetary fines.

Failure to Qualify as a REIT

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification other than gross income and asset tests that have the specific savings clauses, we can avoid termination of our REIT qualification by paying a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure, provided that our noncompliance was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.
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If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year and the relief provisions do not apply, we will be subject to tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, we will not be required to make any distributions to shareholders, and any distributions that are made to shareholders will not be deductible by us. As a result, our failure to qualify for taxation as a REIT would significantly reduce the cash available for distributions by us to our shareholders. In addition, if we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, all distributions to shareholders, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, will be taxable as regular corporate dividends. For taxable years before January 1, 2026, generally, U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. Alternatively, such dividends paid to U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts and estates may be taxable at the preferential income tax rates (i.e., the 20% maximum U.S. federal rate (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”)) for qualified dividends. In addition, subject to the limitations of the Code, corporate distributees may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction.

Unless entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we also will be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost. In addition, if we merge with another REIT and we are the “successor” to the other REIT, the other REIT’s disqualification from taxation as a REIT would prevent us from being taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which the other REIT’s qualification was lost. There can be no assurance that we would be entitled to any statutory relief. We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the requirements applicable to REITs.

Taxation of U.S. Shareholders

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders

This section summarizes the taxation of U.S. shareholders that are not tax-exempt organizations. For these purposes, the term “U.S. shareholder” is a beneficial owner of our shares that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

a citizen or resident of the United States;

a corporation (including an entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or of a political subdivision thereof (including the District of Columbia);

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

any trust if a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

If an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds our shares, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner generally will depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. A partner of a partnership holding our shares should consult its own tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences to the partner of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our shares by the partnership.

Distributions Generally. So long as we qualify as a REIT, distributions out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits that are not designated as capital gains dividends or “qualified dividend income” will be taxable to our taxable U.S. shareholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction in the case of U.S. shareholders that are corporations. However, for tax years prior to 2026, generally U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. For purposes of determining whether distributions to holders of shares are out of current or accumulated earnings and profits, our earnings and profits will be allocated first to any outstanding preferred shares and then to our outstanding common shares. Dividends received from REITs are generally not eligible to be taxed at the preferential qualified dividend income rates currently available to individual U.S. shareholders who receive dividends from taxable subchapter “C” corporations.

Capital Gain Dividends. We may elect to designate distributions of our net capital gain as “capital gain dividends.” Distributions that we properly designate as “capital gain dividends” will be taxable to our taxable U.S. shareholders as long-term capital gains without regard to the period for which the U.S. shareholder that receives such distribution has held its shares. Designations made by us will only be effective to the extent that they comply with Revenue Ruling 89-81, which requires that distributions made to different classes of shares be composed proportionately of dividends of a particular type. If we designate any portion of a dividend as a capital gain dividend, a U.S. shareholder will receive an IRS Form 1099-DIV indicating the amount that will be taxable to the shareholder as capital gain. Corporate shareholders, however, may be required to treat up to
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20% of some capital gain dividends as ordinary income. Recipients of capital gain dividends from us that are taxed at corporate income tax rates will be taxed at the normal corporate income tax rates on these dividends.

We may elect to retain and pay taxes on some or all of our net long-term capital gains, in which case U.S. shareholders will be treated as having received, solely for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our undistributed capital gains as well as a corresponding credit or refund, as the case may be, for taxes that we paid on such undistributed capital gains. A U.S. shareholder will increase the basis in its shares by the difference between the amount of capital gain included in its income and the amount of tax it is deemed to have paid. A U.S. shareholder that is a corporation will appropriately adjust its earnings and profits for the retained capital gain in accordance with Treasury Regulations to be prescribed by the IRS. Our earnings and profits will be adjusted appropriately.

We will classify portions of any designated capital gain dividend or undistributed capital gain as either:

a long-term capital gain distribution, which would be taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders at a maximum rate of 20% (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”), and taxable to U.S. shareholders that are corporations at a maximum rate of 21%; or

an “unrecaptured Section 1250 gain” distribution, which would be taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders at a maximum rate of 25%, to the extent of previously claimed depreciation deductions.

Distributions from us in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be taxable to a U.S. shareholder to the extent that they do not exceed the adjusted basis of the U.S. shareholder’s shares in respect of which the distributions were made. Rather, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of these shares. To the extent that such distributions exceed the adjusted basis of a U.S. shareholder’s shares of our shares, the U.S. shareholder generally must include such distributions in income as long-term capital gain, or short-term capital gain if the shares have been held for one year or less. In addition, any dividend that we declare in October, November or December of any year and that is payable to a shareholder of record on a specified date in any such month will be treated as both paid by us and received by the shareholder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the dividend before the end of January of the following calendar year.

To the extent that we have available net operating losses and capital losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. See “—Taxation of the Company as a REIT” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Annual Distribution Requirements.” Such losses, however, are not passed through to U.S. shareholders and do not offset income of U.S. shareholders from other sources, nor would such losses affect the character of any distributions that we make, which are generally subject to tax in the hands of U.S. shareholders to the extent that we have current or accumulated earnings and profits.

The maximum amount of dividends that we may designate as capital gain and as “qualified dividend income” (discussed below) with respect to any taxable year may not exceed the dividends actually paid by us with respect to such year, including dividends paid by us in the succeeding tax year that relate back to the prior tax year for purposes of determining our dividends paid deduction.

Qualified Dividend Income. We may elect to designate a portion of our distributions paid to shareholders as “qualified dividend income.” A portion of a distribution that is properly designated as qualified dividend income is taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders as capital gain, provided that the shareholder has held the shares with respect to which the distribution is made for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date that is 60 days before the date on which such shares become ex-dividend with respect to the relevant distribution. The maximum amount of our distributions eligible to be designated as qualified dividend income for a taxable year is equal to the sum of:

the qualified dividend income received by us during such taxable year from non-REIT corporations (including our taxable REIT subsidiaries);

the excess of any “undistributed” REIT taxable income recognized during the immediately preceding year over the U.S. federal income tax paid by us with respect to such undistributed REIT taxable income; and

the excess of (i) any income recognized during the immediately preceding year attributable to the sale of a built-in-gain asset that was acquired in a carry-over basis transaction from a “C” corporation with respect to which the Company is required to pay U.S. federal income tax, over (ii) the U.S. federal income tax paid by us with respect to such built-in gain.

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Generally, dividends that we receive will be treated as qualified dividend income for purposes of the first bullet above if (A) the dividends are received from (i) a U.S. corporation (other than a REIT or a RIC), (ii) any of our taxable REIT subsidiaries, or (iii) a “qualifying foreign corporation,” and (B) specified holding period requirements and other requirements are met. A foreign corporation (other than a “foreign personal holding company,” a “foreign investment company,” or “passive foreign investment company”) will be a qualifying foreign corporation if it is incorporated in a possession of the United States, the corporation is eligible for benefits of an income tax treaty with the United States that the Secretary of Treasury determines is satisfactory, or the stock of the foreign corporation on which the dividend is paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. We generally expect that an insignificant portion, if any, of our distributions from us will consist of qualified dividend income. If we designate any portion of a dividend as qualified dividend income, a U.S. shareholder will receive an IRS Form 1099-DIV indicating the amount that will be taxable to the shareholder as qualified dividend income.

Passive Activity Losses and Investment Interest Limitations. Distributions we make and gain arising from the sale or exchange by a U.S. shareholder of our shares will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, U.S. shareholders generally will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against this income or gain. Distributions we make, to the extent they do not constitute a return of capital, generally will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the investment interest limitation. A U.S. shareholder may elect, depending on its particular situation, to treat capital gain dividends, capital gains from the disposition of shares and income designated as qualified dividend income as investment income for purposes of the investment interest limitation, in which case the applicable capital gains will be taxed at ordinary income rates. We will notify shareholders regarding the portions of our distributions for each year that constitute ordinary income, return of capital and qualified dividend income.

Distributions to Holders of Depositary Shares. Owners of depositary shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as if they were owners of the underlying preferred shares represented by such depositary shares. Accordingly, such owners will be entitled to take into account, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, income and deductions to which they would be entitled if they were direct holders of underlying preferred shares. In addition, (i) no gain or loss will be recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes upon the withdrawal of certificates evidencing the underlying preferred shares in exchange for depositary receipts, (ii) the tax basis of each share of the underlying preferred shares to an exchanging owner of depositary shares will, upon such exchange, be the same as the aggregate tax basis of the depositary shares exchanged therefor, and (iii) the holding period for the underlying preferred shares in the hands of an exchanging owner of depositary shares will include the period during which such person owned such depositary shares.

Dispositions of Our Shares. If a U.S. shareholder sells, redeems or otherwise disposes of its shares in a taxable transaction, it will recognize gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash and the fair market value of any property received on the sale or other disposition and the holder’s adjusted basis in the shares for tax purposes. In general, a U.S. shareholder’s adjusted basis will equal the U.S. shareholder’s acquisition cost, increased by the excess for net capital gains deemed distributed to the U.S. shareholder (discussed above) less tax deemed paid on it and reduced by returns on capital.

In general, capital gains recognized by individuals and other non-corporate U.S. shareholders upon the sale or disposition of our shares will be subject to a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”), if our shares are held for more than one year and will be taxed at ordinary income rates of up to 37% if the stock is held for one year or less. Gains recognized by U.S. shareholders that are corporations are subject to U.S. federal income tax at a maximum rate of 21%, whether or not such gains are classified as long-term capital gains. The IRS has the authority to prescribe, but has not yet prescribed, Treasury Regulations that would apply a capital gain tax rate of 25% (which is higher than the long-term capital gain tax rates for non-corporate U.S. shareholders) to a portion of capital gain realized by a non-corporate U.S. shareholder on the sale of the Company’s shares that would correspond to the REIT’s “unrecaptured Section 1250 gain.” U.S. shareholders should consult with their own tax advisors with respect to their capital gain tax liability.

Capital losses recognized by a U.S. shareholder upon the disposition of our shares that were held for more than one year at the time of disposition will be considered long-term capital losses and are generally available only to offset capital gain income of the shareholder but not ordinary income (except in the case of individuals, who may offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year). In addition, any loss upon a sale or exchange of our shares by a U.S. shareholder who has held the shares for six months or less, after applying holding period rules, will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of distributions that we make that are required to be treated by the U.S. shareholder as long-term capital gain.

If a shareholder recognizes a loss upon a subsequent disposition of our shares in an amount that exceeds a prescribed threshold, it is possible that the provisions of Treasury Regulations involving “reportable transactions” could apply, with a resulting requirement to separately disclose the loss-generating transaction to the IRS. These regulations, though directed towards “tax shelters,” are broadly written, and apply to transactions that would not typically be considered tax shelters. The Code imposes
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significant penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. U.S. shareholders should consult their tax advisors concerning any possible disclosure obligation with respect to the receipt or disposition of our shares, or transactions that we might undertake directly or indirectly.

Redemption of Preferred Shares and Depositary Shares. Whenever we redeem any preferred shares held by the depositary, the depositary will redeem as of the same redemption date the number of depositary shares representing the preferred shares so redeemed. The treatment accorded to any redemption by us for cash (as distinguished from a sale, exchange or other disposition) of our preferred shares to a holder of such preferred shares can only be determined on the basis of the particular facts as to each holder at the time of redemption. In general, a holder of our preferred shares will recognize capital gain or loss measured by the difference between the amount received by the holder of such shares upon the redemption and such holder’s adjusted tax basis in the preferred shares redeemed (provided the preferred shares are held as a capital asset) if such redemption (i) is ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend’’ with respect to the holder of the preferred shares under Section 302(b)(1) of the Code, (ii) is a “substantially disproportionate” redemption with respect to the shareholder under Section 302(b)(2) of the Code, or (iii) results in a ‘‘complete termination’’ of the holder’s interest in all classes of our shares under Section 302(b)(3) of the Code. In applying these tests, there must be taken into account not only any series or class of the preferred shares being redeemed, but also such holder’s ownership of other classes of our shares and any options (including stock purchase rights) to acquire any of the foregoing. The holder of our preferred shares also must take into account any such securities (including options) which are considered to be owned by such holder by reason of the constructive ownership rules set forth in Sections 318 and 302(c) of the Code.

If the holder of preferred shares owns (actually or constructively) none of our voting shares, or owns an insubstantial amount of our voting shares, based upon current law, it is probable that the redemption of preferred shares from such a holder would be considered to be ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend.’’ However, whether a distribution is ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend’’ depends on all of the facts and circumstances, and a holder of our preferred shares intending to rely on any of these tests at the time of redemption should consult its tax advisor to determine their application to its particular situation.

Satisfaction of the “substantially disproportionate” and “complete termination” exceptions is dependent upon compliance with the respective objective tests set forth in Section 302(b)(2) and Section 302(b)(3) of the Code. A distribution to a holder of preferred shares will be “substantially disproportionate” if the percentage of our outstanding voting shares actually and constructively owned by the shareholder immediately following the redemption of preferred shares (treating preferred shares redeemed as not outstanding) is less than 80% of the percentage of our outstanding voting shares actually and constructively owned by the shareholder immediately before the redemption, and immediately following the redemption the shareholder actually and constructively owns less than 50% of the total combined voting power of the Company. Because the Company’s preferred shares are nonvoting shares, a shareholder would have to reduce such holder’s holdings (if any) in our classes of voting shares to satisfy this test.

If the redemption does not meet any of the tests under Section 302 of the Code, then the redemption proceeds received from our preferred shares will be treated as a distribution on our shares as described under ‘‘—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders-Distributions Generally,’’ and ‘‘—Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders-Distributions Generally.’’ If the redemption of a holder’s preferred shares is taxed as a dividend, the adjusted basis of such holder’s redeemed preferred shares will be transferred to any other shares held by the holder. If the holder owns no other shares, under certain circumstances, such basis may be transferred to a related person, or it may be lost entirely.

With respect to a redemption of our preferred shares that is treated as a distribution with respect to our shares, which is not otherwise taxable as a dividend, the IRS had proposed Treasury Regulations that would require any basis reduction associated with such a redemption to be applied on a share-by-share basis which could result in taxable gain with respect to some shares, even though the holder’s aggregate basis for the shares would be sufficient to absorb the entire amount of the redemption distribution (in excess of any amount of such distribution treated as a dividend). Additionally, these proposed Treasury Regulations did not permit the transfer of basis in the redeemed shares of the preferred shares to the remaining shares held (directly or indirectly) by the redeemed holder. Instead, the unrecovered basis in our preferred shares would be treated as a deferred loss to be recognized when certain conditions are satisfied. These proposed Treasury Regulations have been withdrawn and, although the IRS has reaffirmed its support for a share-by-share basis recovery approach, there is no indication as to whether regulations or other guidance on this issue will be promulgated in the future.

Net Investment Income Tax. In certain circumstances, certain U.S. shareholders that are individuals, estates or trusts are subject to a 3.8% tax on “net investment income,” which includes, among other things, dividends on and gains from the sale or other disposition of REIT shares. U.S. shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding this legislation.

Expansion of Medicare Tax. The temporary 20% deduction allowed by Section 199A of the Code with respect to ordinary REIT
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dividends received by non-corporate taxpayers is allowed only for purposes of Chapter 1 of the Code and thus is apparently not allowed as a deduction allocable to such dividends for purposes of determining the amount of net investment income, described above, subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax, which is imposed under Chapter 2A of the Code. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors regarding this legislation.

Taxation of Tax-Exempt Shareholders

U.S. tax-exempt entities, including qualified employee pension and profit sharing trusts and individual retirement accounts, generally are exempt from U.S. federal income taxation. Such entities, however, may be subject to taxation on their unrelated business taxable income, or UBTI. While some investments in real estate may generate UBTI, the IRS has ruled that dividend distributions from a REIT to a tax-exempt entity generally do not constitute UBTI. Based on that ruling, and provided that (1) a tax-exempt shareholder has not held our shares as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code (i.e., where the acquisition or holding of our shares is financed through a borrowing by the U.S. tax-exempt shareholder), (2) our shares are not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business of a U.S. tax-exempt shareholder, and (3) we do not hold an asset that gives rise to “excess inclusion income,” distributions that we make and income from the sale of our shares generally should not give rise to UBTI to a U.S. tax-exempt shareholder.

Tax-exempt shareholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, or qualified group legal services plans exempt from U.S. federal income taxation under Sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9) or (c)(17) of the Code, respectively, or single parent title-holding corporations exempt under Section 501(c)(2) and whose income is payable to any of the aforementioned tax-exempt organizations, are subject to different UBTI rules, which generally require such shareholders to characterize distributions from us as UBTI unless the organization is able to properly claim a deduction for amounts set aside or placed in reserve for certain purposes so as to offset the income generated by its investment in our shares. These shareholders should consult with their tax advisors concerning these set aside and reserve requirements.

In certain circumstances, a pension trust (1) that is described in Section 401(a) of the Code, (2) is tax exempt under Section 501(a) of the Code, and (3) that owns more than 10% of the value of our shares could be required to treat a percentage of the dividends as UBTI, if we are a “pension-held REIT.” We will not be a pension-held REIT unless:

either (1) one pension trust owns more than 25% of the value of our stock, or (2) one or more pension trusts, each individually holding more than 10% of the value of our shares, collectively own more than 50% of the value of our shares; and

we would not have qualified as a REIT but for the fact that Section 856(h)(3) of the Code provides that shares owned by such trusts shall be treated, for purposes of the requirement that not more than 50% of the value of the outstanding shares of a REIT is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer “individuals” (as defined in the Code to include certain entities), as owned by the beneficiaries of such trusts.

The percentage of any REIT dividend from a “pension-held REIT” that is treated as UBTI is equal to the ratio of the UBTI earned by the REIT, treating the REIT as if it were a pension trust and therefore subject to tax on UBTI, to the total gross income of the REIT. An exception applies where the percentage is less than 5% for any year, in which case none of the dividends would be treated as UBTI. The provisions requiring pension trusts to treat a portion of REIT distributions as UBTI will not apply if the REIT is able to satisfy the “not closely held requirement” without relying upon the “look-through” exception with respect to pension trusts. As a result of certain limitations on the transfer and ownership of our common and preferred shares contained in our declaration of trust, we do not expect to be classified as a “pension-held REIT,” and accordingly, the tax treatment described above with respect to pension-held REITs should be inapplicable to our tax-exempt shareholders.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders

The following discussion addresses the rules governing U.S. federal income taxation of non-U.S. shareholders. For purposes of this summary, “non-U.S. shareholder” is a beneficial owner of our shares that is not a U.S. shareholder (as defined above under “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders”). These rules are complex, and no attempt is made herein to provide more than a brief summary of such rules. Accordingly, the discussion does not address all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation and does not address state local or foreign tax consequences that may be relevant to a non-U.S. shareholder in light of its particular circumstances. Prospective non-U.S. shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors to determine the impact of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income tax laws on their ownership of our common shares or preferred shares, including any reporting requirements.

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Distributions Generally. As described in the discussion below, distributions paid by us with respect to our common shares, our preferred shares and depositary shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as either:

ordinary income dividends;

long-term capital gain; or

return of capital distributions.

This discussion assumes that our shares will continue to be considered regularly traded on an established securities market for purposes of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, or FIRPTA, provisions described below. If our shares are no longer regularly traded on an established securities market, the tax considerations described below would materially differ.

Ordinary Income Dividends. A distribution paid by us to a non-U.S. shareholder will be treated as an ordinary income dividend if the distribution is payable out of our earnings and profits and:

not attributable to our net capital gain; or